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UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH 




-Darlington Memorial Library- 










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THE 



FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR: 

ITS CAUSES, INCIDENTS, AND CONSEQUENCES. 



, EDITED BY 

CAPTAIN H: M. HOZIER, F.C.S., F.G.S., 

AUTHOR OF "THE SEVEN WEEKS' WAR," "THE BRITISH EXPEDITION TO ABYSSINIA," ETC. 



WITH THE 



TOPOGRAPHY AND HISTORY OF THE RHINE VALLEY, 

By W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS, 

AUTHOR OF "BEFORE THE CONQUEST," " BURIED CITIES OF CAMPANIA," ETC. 



VOL. I. 



LONDON: 
WILLIAM MACKENZIE, 22 PATERNOSTER ROW; 

43 to 51 HOWARD STREET, GLASGOW; 59 SOUTH BRIDGE, EDINBURGH. 






PRINTED BY WILLIAM MACKENZIE, LONDON, EDINBURGH AND GLASGOW 



TO THE BINDER. 



THE PLATES ARE TO BE PLACED IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER:— 



TO FACE PAGK 

VOL. I. 
William I. King of Prussia, and Emperor of 

Germany, (To Face Title.) 

Title, ..." 1 

Napoleon III 15 

The Right Honourable Viscount Palmerston, . . 48 

Crown Prince of Prussia, 118 

Prince Frederick Charles, 120 

General Von Moltke, 121 

Von Roon, 122 

Map of Prussia, 125 

Emperor of Austria 127 

Map of South Germany, 145 

Lord Stanley (Derby), 148 

Earl Russell, 211 

Bismarck, 21G 

Krupp's 1000-Pounder Gun, 24S 

Small Arms, 263 

French Mitrailleuse, 265 

Gatling Mitrailleuse, 266 

Map of France, 290 

Battle of Saarbruck, 302 

Battle of Wissemburg, 306 

Battle of Woerth, 309 

Maeshal MacMahon, . 319 

Battle of Forbach 322 

Marshal Bazaine, 353 

Metz and its Fortifications 358 

Battle of Courcelles, 362 

Battle of Vionville, 368 

Battle of Gravelotte, 377 

Battle of Beaumont 413 

Battle of Camgnan, 416 

Battle of Sedan, 419 

VOL. II. 

Empress Eugenie, (To Face Title.) 

Title, 1 

General Trochu, 18 

W. E. Gladstone 35 



TO FACE PAGE 

Siege of Strassburg, 57 

Siege of Strassburg (Enlarged Sketch), ... 65 

Gambetta, 79 

Garibaldi, 81 

Bourbaki, 89 

Map of Orleans, 171 

Paris and its Environs, 1S3 

Map Showing Faidherbe's Campaign 217 

Battle of Le Mans 237 

Campaign in East France, 241 

Battle of Belfort, 245 

General Von Werder, 247 

Manteuffel, 249 

Thiers 267 

RHINE VALLEY. 
Lake of Constanz and the Islands of Mainau and 

Reichenau, 13 

Bregenz 14 

Friedrichsiiafen 15 

schaffhausen, 27 

The Rhine Falls, Scuaffhausen, 29 

Lauffenberg, 32 

Rheinfelden, 33 

Eglisau, 34 

Basle 35 

Freiburg, 59 

Strassburg, 64 

Speier, 80 

Heidelberg, 85 

Mannheim, . 8S 

Oppenheim, 90 

Mayence, 95 

Elfeldt, 100 

St. Goarshausen 102 

llebenstein sterneneels, 103 

Bacharach, 106 

Ehrenbreitstein 10S 

Bonn, 112 

Cologne, 114 



THE 



Franco-Prussian War. 



PART I. 



INTRODUCTORY. 



CHAPTER I. 



Perception of Cause and Effect in History — Prussia and German Unity — France and Revolution — The Treaty of Vienna — Its inefficiency — 
France under Louis Philippe — The revolutionary spirit in Italy and Spain — -Russia and Turkey — Austria and Prussia — Congress of Laybach 
— Congress of Verona— French Interference in Spain — English Recognition of South American Free States — Temporary Suppression of 
Revolts — Rise and Independence of Greece — Russian Influence — The Czar Alexander I. and the Holy Alliance — Capture of Missolonghi — 
Battle of Navarino — -War of Czar Nicholas with Turkey — Treaty of Adrianople — Erection of Belgium into an Independent Kingdom, Prince 
Leopold of Saxe Coburg king — General Recognition by Treaty of 1839 — Reforms in England in Taxation, Criminal Law, Religious 
Disabilities, Parliamentary Representation, Municipal Corporations, Poor-law, Charities, Free Trade, Irish Land Tenure, Education of 
the People — Constitutions given to British Colonies — Wars, Colonial, Indian, and Crimean — Revolution in Europe in 1848 — Action and 
Reaction of Opinion — Radicalism, Chartism, Socialism, Republicanism — 10th April in London — Lord Palmerston — Switzerland — Cracow 
— Metternich — Italy — Pope Pius IX., his Amnesty, Reforms, Dangers — Rome a Revolutionary Centre — Leopold Grand Duke of 
Tuscany — Charles Albert King of Piedmont and Sardinia — Austrian influence — Occupation of Ferrara — Ferment among Italians — The 
Cry of ( Independence of Italy ' — Guizot's Policy — English Policy — Lord Minto's Mission — Demonstrations at Turin, Lucca, Rome, Naples 
— Concession of a Liberal Constitution by the King of Naples — Increased Excitement — Prevalence of the Revolution throughout Italy — 
Parliamentary Government in France — Charges of Corruption — Foreign Policy — Electoral Reform — Banquets — King's Speech, December, 
1847 — Stubbornness of Louis Philippe — 24th February, 1848 — Republican Manoeuvres — Soldiers and National Guard— King's Unwillingness 
to shed Blood — Guizot's Resignation — Thiers — Odillon Barrot — Abdication of Louis Philippe — His Flight to England — Another Exile in 
London buys a Newspaper — French Republic — Lamartine — National Assembly— Organization of Labour — Insurrection of June — Four 
Days' Battle — Four Thousand Barricades — General Cavaignac Dictator — French Intervention at Rome — Assassination of Rossi — Roman 
Republic — Flight of the Pope — War in Lombardy — Radetzky — Battle of Novara — Abdication of Charles Albert — Restoration of Austrian 
Supremacy — War in Hungary — All Germany in Revolt — National Unity — King Frederic William at Berlin— The ' Vor-Parlament ' at 
Frankfort — General Collapse of Revolutionary Projects. 



Posterity will judge far more easily and accurately 
than the present generation possibly can, the 
relation of cause and effect, in the series of events 
culminating this year, 1870, in the tremendous 
struggle of nations on the banks of the Rhine. 
After the lapse of ages, the occurrences of a cen- 
tury are narrated in a few pregnant sentences, 
stating what was the germ, growth, and culmina- 
tion of one or two fecund ideas, one or two national 
aspirations. The present decade, so memorable in 
Prussian history, commenced a hundred years 
after the triumphs of Frederic the Great in the 
Seven Years' War (1756-63). That far-off indica- 
tion of Prussia's military power marked her as 
the leader of Germany, and the humiliations she 



endured at the hands of the first Napoleon served 
only to intensify in her a disposition to restore the 
German race to the honour and dignity which is 
its due. On the other hand, the revolutionary 
ideas which in France and neighbouring states 
produced astounding results, both for good and 
evil, eighty years ago, re-appeared in great force 
in the European uprisings of 1848. Again the 
French people, after a vain effort at self-government 
and liberty of action, yielded to the despotic sway 
of personal government, while the Germans strove 
for national unity with a national Parliament, also 
in vain. Yet the patient Germanic spirit, abiding 
its time, looked forward hopefully and eagerly to 
the day when unity should endow the nation with 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



commanding strength. To accomplish this great 
end many sacrifices were necessary, and much 
boldness, both civil and political, in the leaders. 
Above all, the elimination of foreign and hetero- 
geneous elements from the national life was 
essential. France under the second Empire, as 
the child of Revolution, had raised the cry of 
"nationalities," and by a rude stroke at Austrian 
and papal power had brought about the unity of 
Italy. Germany, the seat of learning and of the 
highest civilisation, sighed at its own confederated 
impotence. There it lay, rich in all the elements 
of political greatness, but unable to combine them 
by reason of its division into petty principalities 
and dukedoms. The national aspirations pointed 
to the welding of these parts into one solid whole ; 
but a great leader was wanting to give form and 
vitality to these aspirations. At length came the 
hour and the man. Count von Bismarck was made 
prime minister and minister for foreign affairs to 
the king of Prussia. He had deeply pondered all 
the intricate problems which the state of Germany 
presented. With profound insight he saw the 
causes of national weakness and laboured assi- 
duously to remove them. With his one object in 
view, and with little tenderness for other courts 
or other princes, he began his great task at the 
easiest end, by despoiling the Danish crown of its 
German appanages. After a brief pause, he pro- 
ceeded to get rid, as far as possible, of the non-German 
elements existing in the Austrian empire, and by 
a reconstruction of the German Confederation ex- 
cluded that Slavonic and Hungarian compound of 
peoples from Germany proper. His wonderful 
success in these great achievements waited but the 
crowning step of a close federal union with the 
states of South Germany, when the emperor of 
the French, goaded by the jealous murmurs of his 
people, who can bear no rival near the throne of 
their supremacy, rushed into a war that seems 
destined to complete all Count Bismarck's designs, 
and make Germany the chief military power of 
Europe. 

Of this general outline a few explanatory details 
will be necessary. The grand product of the 
Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars which ended 
in 1814 was that celebrated instrument, the Treaty 
of Vienna. Such at least it seemed in the eyes 
of men who do not observe the under-currents 
of history. It has been the vain boast of the 
admirers of this document that it preserved 



the peace of Europe for forty years ; it had 
in truth very little to do with preserving the 
peace of Europe, and unquestionably it failed to 
secure the observance of its own provisions for 
even half that time. Even while the plenipoten- 
tiaries were seated round the Congress table, an 
ominous interruption compelled them to throw 
down their protocols and provisos, and hasten to 
their respective courts. The great disturber of 
the equilibrium which the Congress was attempt- 
ing to restore had broken loose from Elba. His 
name once more inflamed the martial ardour of 
France, and he cast his last bloody die for empire 
on the field of Waterloo, forfeiting for ever his 
liberty and crown. The Congress was resumed — 
the Treaty solemnly signed and ratified. Its leading 
provision, in accordance with the ostensible pur- 
pose of the allied powers in making war against 
the usurper, was that the elder branch of the 
Bourbons should reign over France. This ar- 
rangement made no allowance for the vast change 
wrought in the French people, morally, intellect- 
ually, and socially, by the Revolution; and after a 
painful duration of fifteen years it crumbled into 
dust before the three July days of revolution 
in 1830. 

Louis Philippe, the elected citizen king, with 
all his merits and accomplishments, did not suit 
the excitable nation over which he reigned for 
eighteen years. His government by party, in regu- 
lar constitutional form, with a Right and a Left, 
a Centre, Right Centre, and Left Centre, was not 
adapted to the genius of Frenchmen. "La Gloire" 
seemed wanting in this system, and Beranger was 
still trumpeting forth in his songs the renown of 
their famous Corsican soldier. The name of 
Xapoleon Bonaparte was a name of power when, 
in a feverish fit which seized them in February, 
1848, the populace of Paris drove away the able 
and respectable family of Orleans, and prepared a 
way to the throne for Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. 
The French, endowed with so much keen com- 
mon sense in the transactions of private life, are 
lamentably under the sway of their imagination 
in matters of public concern. Thus came about 
another grievous infraction of the Treaty of Vienna, 
which had decreed in the most stringent manner 
that no Bonaparte should again reign in Europe. 

The revolutionary spirit that wrought these 
changes in France, and rent in twain the artificial 
instrument elaborated by the Congress, had been 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



for years fermenting in all the countries of Europe. 
Organized by the Carbonari and other secret 
societies, it broke out in Italy and Spain with 
great violence in 1821, and virtually reduced 
King Ferdinand to a nonentity. At the same 
time Greece rose against her Turkish rulers, 
and sought to establish her independence. These 
events excited lively apprehensions at all the 
courts of Europe. France, in defence of royalty, 
would supjDress the revolution in Spain, and put 
down the communeros (communists) and descami- 
sados (shirtless) at all cost. Russia was not sorry 
to see Turkey embarrassed by the Greek insur- 
rection, and England was favourable to the cause 
of liberty in both countries. Austria, in the 
person of her foreign minister, represented the 
principle of pure absolutism, and Prussia held a 
somewhat neutral position, siding now with 
Austria, anon with Russia. Austria with a strong 
hand suppressed the rising liberties of Italy, and at 
the Congress ofLaybach (January, 1821) concluded 
arrangements which gave her virtual possession of 
the fairest parts of that peninsula. Another congress 
was erelong proposed to settle the difficulties of 
the hour, and in 1822 representatives of the various 
powers met at Verona. Divergence of opinion 
soon made itself apparent at this assembly. France, 
with her traditional jealousy of any foreign influ- 
ence in Spain, would interfere in the Spanish 
question, and would allow no one else to do so. 
England deprecated interference, but the French 
views were supported by Russia, Austria, and 
Prussia. England desired the recognition as 
independent states of the revolted Spanish colonies 
in South America, which none of the other powers 
would agree to without the consent of the king 
of Spain. The result was that the duke of Wel- 
lington, the English plenipotentiary, refused to 
sign the proces verbalise of the conference, and the 
French government gained its point. The hero 
of Waterloo, on his way home, had an interview 
with Louis XVIII., and well nigh persuaded that 
monarch to abandon the line of policy marked 
out by the Verona Congress. But the current of 
public opinion setting the other way, the Due 
d'Angouleme, at the head of a hundred thousand 
men, entered Spain on April 5, 1823, for the 
purpose of defending its Bourbon king against his 
own subjects. French soldiers once more marched 
along roads which they had disputed mile by mile 
with the soldiers of Wellington ten years before, 



between the Bidassoa and Madrid. This event 
excited not only lively scenes in the French 
Chamber, from which Manuel, an opposition mem- 
ber, was forcibly dragged by the gend'armes, but 
called forth expressions of loud indignation in the 
English House of Commons, where Mr. Brougham, 
in allusion to the help proffered to France by 
Russia and the German Powers, uttered the follow- 
ing prognostication : — "I say that if the king of 
France calls in the modern Teutones, or the 
modern Scythians, to assist him in this unholy 
war, judgment will that moment go forth against 
him and his family, and the dynasty of Gaul will 
be changed at once and for ever." 

For all this, however, the French were success- 
ful in suppressing the revolution, and restoring 
Ferdinand unshackled to his throne. When the 
Due d'Angouleme had returned in triumph to Paris, 
the English government, considering that they had 
sustained a defeat, carried out the measure they 
advocated at the Congress of Verona, and formally 
recognized the independence of the revolted 
Spanish colonies in South America. Spain " with 
the Indies" had been a power formidable to Eng- 
land. By finally separating from her " the Indies" 
she would be no longer formidable. " I called the 
new world into existence," said Mr. Canning, 
melo-dramatically, " to redress the balance of the 
old." Curiously enough, Chateaubriand, who was 
then the French minister for foreign affairs, has 
admitted in his memoirs, that his government 
had a plan for " breaking through or modifying 
the Treaty of Vienna, by establishing Bourbon 
monarchies in South America." 

Poor Treaty of Vienna ! its power for keeping 
the peace of Europe for forty years seems to have 
been but small. 

Early in 1821, and not many months after the 
outbreak of the Spanish revolution, the Greeks, 
after four centuries of submission, rose against 
their masters the Turks. This insurrection was 
fomented by a secret society of " Hetairists," and 
supported by the friends of Greece in various parts 
of Europe calling themselves Philhellenes. Capo 
d'Istria, a Greek, who occupied the post of private 
secretary to Alexander, emperor of Russia, was a 
member of the society of Hetairists. The English 
poet Byron was an eminent Philhellene. Bound 
together by community of interest, religious and 
secular, it was supposed that Russia gave secret 
aid to this movement ; but it is on re-cord that the 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



Czar had so great a horror of insurrection, and felt 
so completely bound by the principles of the Holy 
Alliance, that he refused altogether to countenance 
the Greeks in their rebellion against the Sublime 
Porte. Not until his death and the accession of 
his more ambitious brother, the Emperor Nicholas, 
did the Greeks succeed in establishing that in- 
dependence on behalf of which they had exhibited 
heroism suipassing the dreams of romance, and had 
committed atrocities exceeded only by the cruelties 
of their fierce Moslem oppressors. In 1822 the 
provisional Greek government had made an earnest 
application to the Congress at Verona, to be ad- 
mitted into the European family of nations, and 
to be taken under the protection of the Western 
powers ; but the members of the Holy Alliance, 
so powerful in that Congress, rejected the appli- 
cation of rebels, insisting upon the maintenance 
of sovereign rights even when symbolized by 
the domination of the crescent over the cross — 
the figure of Islam trampling upon the church of 
Christ. Four years' prolongation of the contest 
however, and the awful scenes which characterized 
the fall of Missolonghi into the hands of the Turks, 
fully aroused the sympathies of western Europe. 
The representatives of the people having signed a 
solemn act, in virtue of which " the Greek nation 
placed the sacred deposit of its liberty, indepen- 
dence, and political existence, under the absolute 
protection of Great Britain," Mr. Canning took 
steps to make the desired protection effective. 
Terms of accommodation were arranged at a secret 
interview held in January, 1826, on an island near 
Hydra, between Mr. Stratford Canning (the present 
Lord Stratford de Eedcliffe), British envoy at 
Constantinople, and Prince Mavrocordato, president 
of the Greek government. The duke of Welling- 
ton, on an embassy of congratulation to the Czar 
Nicholas on his accession, concluded with the 
Russian government a convention for the pro- 
tection of Greece, which was signed on the 4th 
April, 1826. More than a year of negotiation 
however elapsed before the treaty between England, 
France, and Russia was signed (6th July, 1827) 
for the protection of Greece as an independent 
state. Meanwhile the Greeks had been reduced 
to a very low condition by Ibrahim Pasha and his 
Egyptian troops, and the Sultan, naturally indig- 
nant at the interference of the three allied powers, 
made preparations for resistance. A combined fleet 
of English, French, and Russian men-of-war, in 



all twenty-six sail, entered the Bay of Navarino, 
on the 20th October, 1827, and destroyed the 
Turkish fleet, while Ibrahim Pasha was away doing 
his best to exterminate the inhabitants of the 
Morea and render their homes desolate. The in- 
dependence of Greece was secured by the battle of 
Navarino, but the pride of the Sultan and his divan 
was not subdued. Stiff-necked as ever, the in- 
domitable tone of his reply to the allied ministers 
after his misfortune was worthy of a better cause, 
" My positive, absolute, definitive, unchangeable, 
eternal answer is, that the Sublime Porte does not 
accept any proposition regarding the Greeks, and 
will persist in its own will regarding them even to 
the day of the last judgment." That day, so rashly 
appealed to, seemed about to dawn upon Turkey 
in the war which shortly ensued between her and 
Russia. The contest bears little upon the questions 
agitating Europe in this year, 1870, excepting as 
showing the direction of Russian ambition, and as 
giving England a reason for watching the progress 
of that colossal power in the East. The war broke 
out in 1828, after the conclusion of a war with 
Persia, in which the Czar had been triumphant. 
After a series of brilliant successes, the Moslems 
were again humbled, and Russian superiority 
acknowledged in a treaty dictated by Marshal 
Diebitsch at Adrian ople itself, in the closing 
month of 1829. 

When Greece, in 1830, assumed the form of a 
constitutional monarchy, its throne was offered 
to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, the widowed 
husband of Princess Charlotte of England. He 
declined the honour, but accepted a similar proposal 
made in June, 1831, on behalf of the people of 
Belgium. By the settlement of 1815 this country 
formed part of the kingdom of the Netherlands. 
Dutchmen and Belgians, however, found themselves 
but ill-mated; and on the 4th October, 1830, another 
infringement of the great treaty took place by the 
secession of the Belgians from the kingdom of Hol- 
land, and the formation of a provisional government 
with the sanction of Great Britain and France. The 
crown was offered to and refused by the Due de 
Nemours, second son of Louis Philippe king of the 
French, and was finally bestowed upon Leopold. 
Some years elapsed before the recognition of this 
new and prosperous little kingdom was made by all 
the great powers. On the 19th April, 1839, a treaty 
was signed at London which established peaceful 
relations between King Leopold I. and the sovereign 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



of the Netherlands, and obtained the recognition 
of the kingdom of Belgium by all the states of 
Europe. It is by this treaty that Great Britain 
deems herself morally bound to protect the integrity 
ot the state, and her neutrality when neighbouring 
kingdoms are at war. The special treaties of 1870 
between England on one side, and France and 
Prussia severally on the other, extend only to the 
period of one year after the conclusion of peace 
between those belligerent powers. 

The spirit of revolution, it will be seen, was not 
effectively restrained on the continent of Europe 
by the virtue of the Holy Alliance. In England 
that spirit accomplished changes and improvements 
of great national and social importance, but by 
gentler and more benignant courses than those 
employed in France, Italy, Spain, and Greece. 
The heavy burdens of taxation entailed by a long 
and costly war were gradually lightened, the abuses 
of a paper currency were restrained, and trade was 
developed. A criminal law of Draconian severity 
was rendered more humane, while a corrupt and 
inefficient system of police was replaced by one 
that for more than forty years has fully justified 
the change. Gross injustice to a large section of 
the community was removed by the passing, after 
some violent agitation, of the Roman Catholic 
Emancipation Bill, and some years later by a law 
relieving Jews from disabilities laid upon them by 
theological prejudice. This class of legislation was 
carried on by the regulation of ecclesiastical in- 
comes in the church of England, by means of a 
standmg commission; by the abolition of tests, and 
quite recently by the disestablishment of a Pro- 
testant state church in Ireland, a Roman Catholic 
country. In order to achieve most of these bene- 
ficent ameliorations of the law, it was essential to 
improve, first of all, the instrument of legislation 
itself. The Reform Act of 1832 abolished a large 
number of pocket boroughs, and gave represen- 
tatives to large towns and important centres of 
trade which had been left unrepresented. By the 
later Act for reforming the representation of the 
people passed in 1867—68, the constituencies were 
indefinitely enlarged by the extension of the 
franchise to every rate-payer, and to lodgers. The 
Parliaments under the first Reform Act accom- 
plished great things. Besides the measures men- 
tioned above, there were the final abolition of the 
slave trade, the reform of the municipal corpora- 
tions, the new poor law, the charity commission, 



the repeal of the corn laws, and the adoption of 
free trade with respect to almost every article of 
export and import. The partial substitution of 
direct for indirect taxation in the form of an 
income-tax, is not yet acknowledged as a public 
benefit with entire unanimity. The abolition of 
the newspaper stamp, and of the duty on paper, 
increased in an extraordinary degree the scope and 
influence of that great educator the press. The 
first Parliament under the new Reform Act has 
already performed great tasks : — The disestablish- 
ment of the church in Ireland, the adaptation of 
the law of land tenure in that country to the cir- 
cumstances of the people, and finally, the education 
of the people of every parish by rate-supported 
schools. The adoption of the last-named measure 
is a remarkable proof of the progress made by 
public opinion in the direction of religious toler- 
ance, and as an indication of the enlightenment 
and elevation of mind of the House of Commons, 
serves to rebut the charge of " Philistinism " so 
conceitedly brought forward against Englishmen 
by certain writers of the day. 

Legislation has also been most beneficially em- 
ployed in conferring upon the colonies of Great 
Britain free constitutions of their own, by which 
they will be fitted to stand alone when the time 
shall come for snapping asunder the slender thread 
that binds them to the mother country. The 
discovery of gold in many of these distant depen- 
dencies gave a vigorous impulse to the tide of 
emigration from home. As many as seven million 
emigrants have quitted the United Kingdom since 
1815, the greater number directing their steps 
to the boundless and fertile territories of the United 
States. 

All the wars in which England has engaged 
since the Congress of Vienna have been, with the 
exception of Navarino, the China, and the Crimean 
wars, on behalf of her colonies or her Indian pos- 
sessions. The Kafirs at the Cape of Good Hope, 
the Maoris in New Zealand, the Affghans of 
Northern India, the warriors of Scinde, the inhabit- 
ants of Burmah, and most formidable of all, the 
mutinous Sepoys of Hindostan, have all in turn 
come into deadly collision with England's military 
power, and have all been compelled to yield. After 
the suppression of the Indian mutiny of 1857, the 
government of that vast dependency, which had 
been vested in the East Indian Company, under 
the control of a government board, was formally 



THE FKANCO-PEUSSIAN WAR 



transferred by Act of Parliament, in 1858, to the 
crown. The war with China, not highly honour- 
able in its commencement, had the noteworthy 
effect of giving to Europeans tolerably free access 
to that jealously guarded country, and of opening 
up a commerce of yearly increasing magnitude. 
The Crimean war was a development of the Eastern 
question, in which England became entangled 
through a careful jealousy of Russia's power 
in the East. In 1854 was seen the singular spec- 
tacle of a deadly quarrel on account of Turkey, by 
the three powers who twenty-seven years previously 
united at Navarino to secure the infant kingdom 
of Greece against the oppression of Turkey. 
England and France stood forward as protectors 
of the quondam oppressor against his powerful and 
ambitious assailant, Czar Nicholas. All the bel- 
ligerents suffered severely in this war, which lasted 
more than two years, the heavy losses sustained 
by the Russians, and the fatal discovery made 
by the Czar, that his apparently boundless re- 
sources were cankered and eaten away by official 
corruption, broke the proud sovereign's heart 
and induced his successor, the Emperor Alex- 
ander II., to sue for peace. The main result 
of the war was the dissipation of an illusive and 
vague dread that lay like an incubus on the 
mind of Europe, to the effect that the " Colossus 
of the North " was irresistible. Germany especi- 
ally was supposed to be paralyzed by this tremen- 
dous overhanging power. The hollowness of these 
vast pretensions was made manifest in the Crimean 
war; but the Western Powers had to pay a high 
price for the dismissal of their vain fears, and for 
the knowledge that the dreaded Colossus had 
his weak points. The principal gainer by this war 
was England's ally, the emperor of the French, 
who acquired by it that which he so much wanted 
— prestige. 

It will now be necessary to recur to the rise 
of this prince to power, and to the violent dis- 
turbances which shook Europe like an earth- 
quake in 1848, before proceeding to explain the 
complication of German politics in Holstein, Aus- 
tria, and Prussia, and the vigorous development 
of the last-named power, which has excited the 
jealousy of other nations, and has brought it into 
such violent collision with military France. 

During the thirty years succeeding the peace 
of 1815 a new generation of men had come into 
existence in Europe, who felt little of the misery 



produced by the revolutionary wars, and who yet 
learned by hearsay and by reading what a glorious 
struggle had taken place on behalf of the rights of 
man. By the Treaty of Vienna an attempt was 
made to restore that balance of power which had 
kept Europe steady during the greater part of the 
eighteenth century, and had served to protect 
small states as well as large, with the notable 
exception of Silesia, which was annexed by Prus- 
sia, and of Poland, which was partitioned. Under 
the old system nations were too exclusively iden- 
tified with their nominal rulers, and the interests 
of the empire, kingdom, or duchy were too 
liberally presumed to be the same as the interests 
of the emperor, king, or duke. The revolution 
of 1789 was a protest against this presumption; 
but a protest of so violent a kind that reaction was 
inevitable, and the triumph of the sans culottes 
at Jemappes led ultimately to the Holy Alliance of 
the absolute monarchs of Europe. The first great 
rebound of public opinion from this union of 
absolutists brought about the revolution of July, 
1830, in France. The next swing of the political 
pendulum produced the tremendous concussion, 
or rather series of concussions, of 1848. 

All Europe was convulsed. Under the several 
standards of Radicalism, Chartism, Socialism, 
Communism, Republicanism, the masses of the 
people, with one consent, rose against their rulers, 
and demanded a new programme of fife. In 
England the forms of regulated freedom per- 
mitted the Chartists to make a harmless show 
of strength, that evaporated with the display. 
On occasion of the monster procession (10th 
April, 1848) which bore the people's charter, in 
the shape of a huge petition to the House of 
Commons, a counter demonstration, equally harm- 
less, was made by the easier classes of society, 
who took the oath and staff of special constables 
for the maintenance of the peace of London. 
Among these improvised officials stood, accord- 
ing to authentic report, Lord Palmerston and 
Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. Anti-chartist as Lord 
Palmerston showed himself at home, he was 
radical enough abroad. Only a few months before 
this, at the close of 1847, he had, as English 
secretary for foreign affairs, incurred the resent- 
ment of the potentates of Europe by his open 
encouragement of the Radicals of Switzerland, 
who triumphed over the reactionists in a civil 
war. Words written at this time by the Vaudois 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



deputy, M. Druey, expressed the thoughts of many 
thousands of his contemporaries. Addressing a 
French radical, he said : — -" We sympathize with 
you, and you sympathize with us. The time lias 
now arrived when it is necessary, on both sides 
the Jura, to transfer from the region of ideas to 
that of action the great principles of liberty, 
•equality, fraternity, which constitute the happiness 
of men, as well as the glory of societies." Here 
was the watchword of the insurgent nations. To 
the credit of Switzerland it must be said, that she 
alone, of all competitors in the race for freedom, 
achieved anything like a realization of the great 
principles of liberty and equality. Meanwhile 
the rupture of the entente cordiale between Eng- 
land and France, in consequence of the Spanish 
marriages, gave Austria an opportunity of absorb- 
ing the republic of Cracow, the last remnant of 
independent Poland. Metternich, the Austrian 
minister, seemed supreme in European affairs, and 
his country at the height of prosperity and power, 
when suddenly the absolutist system gave way, 
and the mighty dominion of the emperor of 
Austria fell gradually to pieces, only to be recon- 
structed partially, and after many humiliations. 

The revolutionary explosion was first heard in 
Italy, and the hand that applied the spark to the 
combustible mass of liberalism, which lay ready 
to receive it, was that of the pope of Borne — 
Pius IX — after his election in June, 1846. The 
particulars of this extensive outbreak, as derived 
from Alison's History, will serve to explain with 
tolerable accuracy the course taken by the revolu- 
tionary eruptions in the other countries of Europe. 
•'The first important act of the new pontiff," 
says the conservative historian, " was one eminently 
popular. An amnesty for the large number of 
persons convicted of political offences was greatly 
desired. Yielding alike to his own inclination 
and the general wish, Pius IX. proclaimed the 
desired act of oblivion, and the joyous news was 
early on the morning of the 16th July placarded 
all over Rome. No words can paint the transports 
which ensued. The prison doors were opened ; 
their country was restored to 1500 captives or 
exiles. From morning to night crowds of all ranks 
and professions hastened to the Quirinal to express 
to the holy father the unbounded joy which the act 
of mercy had diffused. Twice in the space of a few 
hours the pope gave his blessing to successive multi- 
tudes which filled the place, and on their knees 



received the sacred benediction ; and as a third 
crowd arrived from the more distant parts of the 
city, he came out, contrary to etiquette, after 
nightfall, and by torchlight again bestowed it 
amidst tears of joy. A spontaneous illumination 
lighted up the whole city." 

The general hopes thus awakened were not 
damped by the first administrative acts of the 
new pope. On the 8th November three com- 
missions were issued, composed of prelates and 
laymen, to report on the reform required in the 
criminal procedure, on the amelioration of the 
municipal system, and on the repression of vag- 
rant mendicity, and various decrees were shortly 
after published for the establishment of primary 
schools, agricultural institutions, hospitals for the 
poor, the reorganization of the army, and that of 
the ancient and far-famed university of Bologna. 

The holy father speedily found himself beset 
with difficulties inseparable from the new state of 
affairs — difficulties which were much enhanced by 
the personal character of the pope, who yielded 
alternately to the solicitations of opposite parties, 
and deprived government of all real consideration 
by taking from it the character of consistency. 

The dangers of the situation were much aug- 
mented in the close of 1846, by the great con- 
fluence of refugees who, taking advantage of the 
amnesty, flocked to Borne, and brought with them 
not only the liberalism of their own country, 
but the concentrated spirit of revolution from 
all other states. The Eternal City became the 
headquarters of the movement from all parts 
of Europe. Liberals from France, Spain, Poland, 
Germany, the Austrian states — all flocked thither, 
as at once to an asylum from the persecution of 
the governments which they had offended, and 
a central point from which they could renew their 
machinations for ulterior aggressions. No practical 
or useful reforms by the Papal government could 
keep pace with the heated imaginations of this 
band of enthusiasts. They openly aspired, not 
merely to reform the Holy See, but to subvert 
the government in all the adjoining states, and 
realize the dream of a united Italian Eepublic, 
one and indivisible. 

Several also of the temporal princes of Italy 
embarked in a liberal policy. Leopold, grand-duke 
of Tuscany, was the first to adventure on the in- 
viting but perilous path. That beautiful duchy had 
long been more lightly and equitably governed 



8 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



than any of the other Italian states, and it em- 
braced a greater number of highly educated and 
enlightened persons. To them a certain intervention 
in the affairs of government had long been the 
subject of desire, and the moderation of their 
temperament and extent of their information 
pointed them out as peculiarly fitted for this 
enjoyment. Their aspirations were now in a 
great measure realized. Leopold emancipated the 
press from its shackles, and adopted other reforms 
which were acceptable to his subjects. 

Sardinia also shared in the movement. Charles 
Albert, who in early youth had fought by the side 
of the Liberals in 1823, looked to that party alone 
for the support of his favourite project of turning 
the Austrians out of Italy. To conciliate them 
during the general ferment of men's minds in the 
peninsula consequent on the amnesty and reform 
of Pius IX., he commenced some changes, and pro- 
mised more. Seeing that Sardinia was the power 
which could alone in the peninsula face the Austrian 
bayonets, and which must necessarily take the lead 
in any efforts to assert the independence of Italy, 
these symptoms excited the utmost interest in the 
inhabitants of the whole country. The hopes that 
had been excited by the general enthusiasm, and 
the direction it was taking, were clearly evinced 
by what occurred in the beginning of winter. On a 
given night in December bale-fires were simul- 
taneously lighted on the principal heights of the 
Apennines, which reflected the ruddy glow from 
the mountains of Bologna to the extreme point of 
the Calabrian peninsula. 

Meanwhile the pope grew alarmed at the storm 
he had raised, and on the 12th June, 1847, a Motu 
Proprio appeared, which was soon after followed by 
a more detailed exposition of the views of the Papal 
government. "The holy father," said this document, 
" has not beheld without grief the doctrines and 
the attempts of some excited persons, who aim 
at introducing into the measures of government 
maxims subversive of the elevated and pacific 
character of the vicar of Jesus Christ, and to 
awaken in the people ideas and hopes incon- 
sistent with the pontifical government." These 
decided words seemed a mortal stroke to the exalted 
Liberals; they immediately lost all confidence in 
the pope, who, they declared, had fallen entirely 
under the Austrian influence ; and to the enthusi- 
astic transports which had signalized his accession 
a year before succeeded a cold indifference. 



Metternich and the cabinet of Vienna made a 
movement professedly to support the government 
of the pope, really to terminate the ascendancy of 
the Liberals in his councils, which threatened to 
prove so dangerous to Austrian rule in Italy. By 
the sixty-third article of the Treaty of Vienna 
the Austrians were authorized to keep a garrison 
in the citadel of Ferrara; but the custody of the 
gates of the town was still intrusted to the ponti- 
fical troops. Now, however, a more decided 
demonstration was deemed necessary. On the 
10th August a division of Austrian troops crossed 
the Po, and took entire possession of the fortress, 
threatening to put to the sword whoever offered 
any resistance. 

The Papal liberal government, assured of the 
support of France, protested energetically against 
this occupation, and the general feeling under- 
went a change attended with important effects. 
The holy father was no longer regarded as the 
head of the revolutionary, but of the national party; 
and to the cry of " Long live reform !" succeeded 
the still more thrilling one of " Italian indepen- 
dence ! " which soon spread beyond the Roman 
states; animating all the states of the peninsula, 
and embracing numbers of the higher and educated 
classes, who, albeit opposed to organic changes 
in the form of government, were yet passion- 
ately desirous of emancipating the country from 
the degrading state of tutelage in which it had 
so long been kept to the northern powers. 

In Turin especially, at the cry " Independence 
of Italy ! " a general enthusiasm seized all classes, 
and Charles Albert let drop hints that the time 
was not far distant when he would draw his sword 
for the " Sacred cause." 

In France M. Guizot's policy at this period was 
directed to the double object of preventing an ex- 
plosion of revolutionary violence in Italy, and of 
taking away all pretext for Austrian interference. 
We are at peace and on good terms with Austria, 
he said, and we wish to continue on such; for a 
war with Austria is a general war and universal 
revolution. 

The English government resolved to send out a 
confidential diplomatic agent to examine the state of 
the peninsula, and give such counsel to its various 
governments as might best tend to bring them in 
safety through the dangers by which they were 
surrounded. Lord Minto, who was selected for 
the mission, was looked upon as the champion 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



of Italian independence; manifestations of popular 
feeling preceded or followed him wherever he 
went; Turin, Genoa, Florence, Rome, Naples, 
Sicily, had no sooner hailed his arrival than they 
became violently agitated; and at Milan the 
people broke out into open riot amidst cries of 
"Down with the Austrians!" which were only 
repressed after collision and bloodshed. 

At Turin the king issued a very liberal pro- 
gramme of the changes which the government 
were about to introduce into the internal admin- 
istration of the kingdom. These concessions 
produced universal transports ; the popularity 
of Charles Albert equalled that which Pius IX. 
had enjoyed a year before; the whole capital was 
spontaneously illuminated for several nights; he 
could not leave his palace without being surrounded 
by an enthusiastic crowd; and when later in the 
autumn he set out for Genoa, the greater part of 
the inhabitants of both cities attended him with 
joyous acclamations, both on his departure and 
return. Nor did the acts of the sovereign belie 
these flattering appearances; for he communicated 
at this time to the French government his resolu- 
tion, in the event of the pope requiring his 
assistance against the Austrians, not to refuse his 
armed support. 

A demonstration in favour of Liberal opinions 
and Italian independence in Lucca, brought that 
beautiful little duchy into unison with Tuscany, 
much to the joy of the inhabitants of both 
duchies. 

It was in the midst of the effervescence caused 
by these events that Lord Minto arrived at Rome, 
and at once became the object of a popular ovation. 
A few days after his arrival a vast crowd, which 
assembled in the Corso, suddenly entered the Piazza 
di Spagna, and soon filled the inner court of the 
Hotel Melza, where Lord Minto resided. Cries of 
" Long live Lord Minto ! " " Long live Italian 
Independence!" were heard on all sides. White 
handkerchiefs were seen to wave in reply from 
the windows of the hotel, and augmented the 
general enthusiasm. The Radical journals in 
France immediately published an inflated account 
of the event, accompanied by a statement that 
England had openly put itself at the head of the 
league for promoting Italian independence; and 
the appearance of some leading Liberals in Lord 
Minto's box at the opera a few nights after, when 
they were received with thunders' of applause, dis- 



pelled all doubt in the minds of the ardent patriots 
of the truth of the report. 

Seriously alarmed at the turn which affairs were 
taking, which threatened not only a revolutionary 
convulsion in Italy, but the lighting up of a general 
conflagration in Europe, M. Rossi, the French 
ambassador, in several conferences with the pope, 
endeavoured to convince his Holiness of the 
necessity of admitting some laymen into his 
cabinet, and after considerable difficulty succeeded 
in extorting this concession from the monopolizing 
ecclesiastics. At the same time he used his 
utmost endeavours to point out to the Liberals 
the danger which they were incurring, not only 
for their country, but for Europe, by rushing 
headlong into a war with Austria, with the feeble 
warlike elements which were alone at their disposal. 

The times were past, however, when these 
warnings could produce any effect. The train 
had been kid, the torch applied, and the explosion 
was inevitable. Power had changed hands at 
Rome. It had slipped from the feeble grasp of 
the pope and the cardinals, and been seized by 
the hands of violent men, destitute alike of infor- 
mation or prudence. Hardly a day passed without 
something occurring which demonstrated the 
deplorable prostration of government, and the 
entire contempt into which the pope, recently so 
popular, had fallen. 

At Naples, whither Lord Minto proceeded from 
Rome, the king outstripped all the concessions 
of the other Italian sovereigns by the publication 
of a constitution, by a decree which removed 
nearly all the restrictions on the liberty of the 
press, and by a large amnesty for political offenders. 

It is difficult for a stranger, especially in a free 
country to the north of the Alps, to form a con- 
ception of the sensation which these decrees, 
following each other in rapid succession, and all 
breathing so liberal a spirit, produced in Italy. 
It seemed impossible that the antiquated fabric 
of superstition and despotism could any longer 
be maintained in the peninsula, when the most 
absolute monarch within its bounds had become 
the first to stretch forth his hand to pull it down. 
The cabinets in the centre and northern parts 
of the country were thunderstruck at the intelli- 
gence; but ere long the enthusiasm became so 
general, the torrent so powerful, that they saw 
no chance of escape but in yielding to it. Con- 
stitutions on the model of that of Naples were 



10 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



speedily published at Turin and Florence. In 
Rome, even, the extreme difficulty of reconciling 
the forms and popular powers of a constitutional 
monarchy with an absolute government based on 
theocracy, yielded to the same necessity. In a 
word, Italy, save where kept down by Austrian 
bayonets, from the base of the Alps to the point 
of Calabria, was as completely revolutionized, 
though as yet without the shedding of blood, 
as France had been by the innovations of the 
Constituent Assembly. 

Meanwhile, in France parliamentary govern- 
ment was undergoing a severe strain. The king 
as he advanced in years, yielding to the tempta- 
tions of his position, strove to keep the reins of 
government more and more in his own hands. 
His cabinet, which was conservative in politics, 
seemed a tool in his hands. Rightly or wrongly, 
it was said that the subserviency of his ministers 
and the fidelity of the majority in the two 
Chambers were bought with a price. Charges of 
peculation and corruption were openly brought 
against officials, and scandalous trials ensued. The 
peerage, at the same time, was greatly disgraced in 
the popular mind on the murder of Marshal 
Sebastiani's daughter by her own husband, the 
Due de Praslin, who had conceived a guilty passion 
for their children's governess. There was scarcity 
in the country, also, to stimulate the rising exas- 
peration. The foreign policy of the government, 
so tender towards Austria, so timid on behalf of 
the movement in Italy, exposed the king and his 
ministers to the charge of pusillanimity. "Yes," 
said Lamartine, "a revolution is approaching, and 
it is the revolution of contempt." 

In this state of things the liberal party then in 
opposition raised the question of parliamentary 
reform. The constitutional liberals, with their 
leader M. Thiers, fondly imagined that the 
question would be argued within the limits of due 
parliamentary order, and end in a peaceable party 
triumph. But the vivacious sections of Com- 
munists, Socialists, and Red Republicans had 
other views, which they resolved audaciously to 
carry out if opportunity offered. The opportunity 
was not long in arriving. The approved mode of 
carrying on a political agitation was by means of 
banquets in the principal cities, at which leading 
men delivered orations of more or less power and 
effect. The speeches, printed in the newspapers, 
exercised a wide influence. Thus Odillon Barret 



and Duvergier de Haurane invited the Parisians, 
at Chateau Rouge, to return to the pure principles 
of the July government; while Lamartine, at 
Macon, set forth in glowing colours the virtues 
of a beneficent communism. The movement was 
sufficiently pronounced to require notice in the 
king's speech at the opening of the Chambers, in 
December, 1847. " In the midst of the agitation," 
he said, "which hostile and blind passions have 
fostered, one conviction has animated and supported 
me; it is, that we possess in the constitutional mon- 
archy, in the union of the three powers of the state, 
the most effectual means of surmounting all our 
difficulties and of providing for all the moral and 
material interests of our dear country." A long 
and animated debate on the address ensued. It 
was moved that the words "hostile and blind," 
which were repeated in the address, should be left 
out. The ministry, however, defeated the amend- 
ment by a majority of 43, and the Liberals began 
anew their agitation out of doors. It was deter- 
mined to hold a great meeting in the capital, at a 
banquet which had already been forbidden by the 
police, and the day fixed for it was the 22nd of 
February. This defiance of the executive gave 
hopes to the turbulent, which were raised still 
higher when a monster procession was also agreed 
upon. The king was firm to obstinacy. "Re- 
form," he said, " meant a change of ministry, and 
a change of ministry meant war with foreign 
powers;" that is to say, encouragement of the 
revolutionary parties in Europe and defiance of 
the absolute monarchies. The 22nd of February, 
however, passed with small disturbance, yet enough 
to induce the government to occupy the streets 
with soldiers on the 23rd, and to call out the 
national guard. This force, to which the king 
was thought to owe his throne, had grown dis- 
satisfied, and some radical leaders persuaded them 
to take up a position of apparent neutrality between 
the military and the populace. 

That this neutrality was not impartial may be 
gathered from the following passage in Alison's 
history : — 

" The 23rd February opened upon a city agitated 
but undecided, ready to obey the strongest impulse, 
to surrender the direction to whoever had the 
courage to seize it. The presence of the military 
in all the principal quarters sufficiently revealed 
the apprehensions of government — the conduct of 
the civic force too clearly evinced to which side it 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



11 



would incline. At ten, M. Flocon, a determined 
revolutionist, entered in haste the office of the 
Reforme, and exclaimed, ' Quick, all clothe your- 
selves in the uniform of the national guard : never 
mind whether they are your own or not : intimate 
to all patriots to do the same. As soon as you 
are dressed, hasten to the mayor's, calling out, 
Vive la reTorme ! Directly you are there, put 
yourselves at the head of the detachments as tbey 
arrive, and interpose them between the soldiers and 
the people. Quick, quick ! the Republic is to be 
had for the taking.' These directions, emanating 
from the headquarters of the movement, were too 
faithfully adopted ; and the national guard, timid, 
desirous to avoid a collision and avert the shedding 
of blood, were in general too happy to follow 
them. The orders of government being that all 
the posts should be occupied by the troops of the 
line and the civic forces jointly, the latter were 
everywhere on the spot with the soldiers, and, in 
conformity with their injunction, they constantly 
interposed between the military and the populace, 
so as to render any attempt to disperse the 
assemblages impossible, as no officer would incur 
the responsibility of engaging in a conflict with 
the national guard of the capital. Several of the 
legions openly joined the people, at least in words, 
and traversed the streets, crying out, 'Vive la 
reTorme !' 

The Kepublic was had for the taking. The 
agitation in the capital became greater every hour, 
and with it grew the alarm at the Tuileries. The 
queen having suggested the resignation of M. 
Guizot, that statesman proudly gave up his office 
and announced the fact in the Chamber of Depu- 
ties. The Liberals and Ultra-liberals received this 
concession with transports of delight. The former 
trusted that the battle was over, and that new men 
and new measures would restore tranquillity. The 
latter thought there was a chance for establishing 
their cherished form of government — a republic. 
The untamed classes of society emerged from their 
squalid homes and swelled the crowds around the 
Tuileries, the Palais Bourbon, where the Chambers 
sat, and the offices of the radical newspapers. 
Such power as the secret societies possessed was 
brought into play. The national guard had gone 
home content and eager to illuminate their houses 
in honour of victory, when a ragged crowd, armed 
with sabres and pikes, was led by one Charles 
Lagrange to the Foreign Office, still occupied by 



M. Guizot and guarded by a detachment of in- 
fantry. Lagrange fired a pistol in the direction 
of the military, who deeming themselves attacked 
replied with a volley, which brought down some 
fifty men. The revolution had begun. All that 
night Paris continued in a state of frantic excite- 
ment. Marshal Bugeaud was appointed com- 
mander of the forces, and by seven o'clock in the 
morning of the 24th had taken military possession 
of the capital. M. Thiers, however, who had 
succeeded Guizot as prime minister, disapproved 
of the employment of military force, and requested 
the withdrawal of the troops. This step, instead 
of calming, served but to intensify the public 
excitement. At ten o'clock Thiers resigned office 
in favour of Odillon Barrot. The king was very 
unwilling to shed blood. The military, surrounded 
and pressed upon by the populace, received no 
orders to fire, and began to fraternize with the 
mob. A rabble broke into the Palais Royal, and 
did great damage. Matters grew rapidly worse. 
In a few hours the reins of government had slipped 
out of the king's hands. Change of ministers 
availed nothing. Abdication was mentioned, and 
the king abdicated ; and by one o'clock in the 
afternoon of that 24th February his discrowned 
Majesty, with the queen and princesses, quietly 
escaped from Paris to the sea-coast, on their way 
to England. Never, perhaps, in the history of 
the world did so great an event happen so unex- 
pectedly as this sudden fall of Louis Philippe. 
The news spread like wildfire, and as the newsmen 
of London were bawhng it through the streets of 
that metropolis it was heard by a lonely refugee 
there, at the moment he was undergoing the 
manipulations of his barber. He sprang from Ms 
seat to buy the printed message, which Destiny 
at length had sent to call him to a splendid throne. 
It was Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, of whom much 
yet will have to be said. In Paris, after a brave 
attempt to secure the appointment of the infant 
Comte de Paris as successor to his grandfather, 
with his mother, the duchess of Orleans, for 
regent, a provisional government was formed and 
the Republic proclaimed. 

The republican sentiment, however, as Lamar- 
tine, the chief of the provisional government, 
afterwards admitted, was weak in France. The 
National Assembly that met on the 4th May, and 
which was elected by universal suffrage, showed a 
majority against the socialists and ultra liberals. 



12 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



A vain attempt was made to "organize labour;" 
but the national workshops established at the 
public expense developed more idleness than 
industry in the population. It soon became 
necessary to abolish these burdensome institutions, 
which the people were very unwilling to abandon. 
A most sanguinary struggle in consequence took 
place in Paris between the populace on the 
one side, and on the other the executive gov- 
ernment, supported by the national guard and 
the regular soldiery. The contest lasted from 
the 23rd to the 26th of June, forced the nomin- 
ation of General Cavaignac to a dictatorship, 
engaged some fifty thousand men on each side 
in bloody conflict, and caused the death of about 
twenty thousand men of all ranks, who had 
fought for the possession of about four thousand 
barricades, erected in the different streets of Paris. 
.Never were the fighting qualities of the Parisians 
more fiercely displayed than in this stubborn effort 
to destroy each other. The most striking incident 
of the insurrection was the death of the archbishop 
of Paris, who was shot while surmounting a 
barricade, cross in hand, with a view to negotiate 
an accommodation. General Cavaignac's conduct 
on this occasion exposed him to blame from both 
parties. The Red Republicans condemned his 
resolute suppression of the insurrection, while the 
moderate party openly accused him of wilful tardi- 
ness in attacking the insurgents, when in truth the 
force at his command was not sufficient to insure 
victory. He incurred additional unpopularity 
by acceding to a request, made by the pope, for 
assistance against his rebellious subjects. The 
revolution at Rome had been stained by the cruel 
assassination of M. Rossi as he entered the Cham- 
ber of Representatives. He had been ambassador 
for France at the Papal court, and was induced to 
accept office as minister of the Interior and of 
Finance under the pontiff. He meditated many 
useful reforms, but seeming to be disposed to a 
compromise with Austria, the national enemy, he 
was slain by order of the secret societies. The 
pope fled to Gaeta. A republic was established in 
Rome, and the assistance of France invoked against 
it. The conflict between her domestic and foreign 
policy exhibited by France at this juncture, is to 
be explained by jealousy of Austria, and the fear 
lest that power should be beforehand in assuming 
a protectorate of the pope and his church. Mean- 
while Austria had been hotly engaged in strife for 



the preservation of her power in Lombardy and 
Venice. The veteran Marshal Radetsky had 
retreated from Milan before the Italians, under 
the leadership of Charles Albert, king of Sardinia 
and Piedmont. But the old soldier after a time 
avenged this blow by the battle of Xovara, at which 
Charles Albert was humbled to the dust, and the 
Austrian sway in Lombardy was restored. 

On the evening of his defeat, the 23rd March, 
1849, the unhappy king of Sardinia abdicated in 
favour of his son, Victor Emmanuel. "This 
is my last day," he said ; " let me die. I have 
sacrificed myself to the Italian cause. For it I 
have exposed my life, that of my children, and 
my throne. I have failed, and remain the sole 
obstacle to a peace now necessary to the state." 
Having said these words, he dismissed his atten- 
dants, wrote a farewell letter to his wife, and at 
one o'clock in the morning went over to the 
Austrian lines. As Count de Barge, a Pied- 
montese officer on leave, he was allowed to pass 
on to Nice, whence he reached Portugal, where 
he remained until his death. His son has lived 
to fulfil more than all the hopes and wishes of 
this patriot king. The democrats of Italy fought 
hard for their principles, but strove in vain to 
keep the trophies. Lombardy, Tuscany, and 
the Two Sicilies, yielded one after the other 
to the power of Austria, until Rome remained 
the sole refuge of the Italian republic. The 
triumvirate which governed her, consisting 
of Mazzini, Armellini, and Saffi, was greatly 
strengthened by Garibaldi, who had returned 
from the war in Sardinia, and by Avczzana, who 
had been driven from Genoa. But France (now 
under the government of Prince Louis Napoleon) 
sent a military force under General Oudinot to 
take possession of the Eternal City. The Italian 
patriots, strongly suspecting that their neighbour 
republicans were not altogether friendly to their 
cause, resisted and repelled their invasion, only, 
however, to be again attacked with fatal success. 
The French possession of Rome dates from 3rd July, 
1849. In the following month Venice, and the 
gallant Daniel Manin, capitulated to the Austrians, 
and Italy returned once more under the dominion 
of her ancient rulers, conscious, nevertheless, of 
having made a great advance morally towards 
national unity and independence. The fulfilment 
of her aspirations she was destined to owe in great 
measure to the ruler of France, who in exile 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



13 



had been a member of her secret societies, and 
had there learned the art that enabled him to 
maintain a lofty position in the world for more 
than twenty years. The Austrian government, 
however, had to encounter rebellion in other 
quarters besides Italy. Her German and Hun- 
garian subjects raised the standard of revolt, and 
achieved so many important successes, that the 
house of Hapsburg seemed doomed, when Nicholas, 
the autocrat of all the Russias, came to the rescue 
with overwhelming force, and overturned the 
democratic government established in Hungary 
under the presidency of the great orator Kossuth. 
The civil war in Hungary, be it noted, turned 
upon questions of race and nationality, rather 
than on the distribution of political power, just 
as national unity was found ultimately to be a 
stronger motive to revolution with the Italians 
and Germans than mere forms of government. In 
the smaller German states the revolutionary shock 
which overthrew Louis Philippe acted with extraor- 
dinary rapidity and force. The sovereigns taken 
by surprise offered no resistance, and the conser- 
vative element of society, though destined soon 
to recover its vigour, seemed suddenly dissolved. 
The grand duke of Baden publicly acknowledged 
the sovereignty of the people, and established a 
national guard ; the king of Wiirtemburg abolished 
feudal rights, and also accepted civic guards; the 
king of Saxony appointed a liberal ministry, and 
convoked the Chambers for the purpose of settling 
a new constitution; the king of Bavaria not only 
parted for a time with his unworthy favourite 
Lola Montes, but subsequently abdicated his throne. 
Belgium and Holland escaped the convulsion by 
reasonable concessions. King Leopold frankly 
told the Chamber of Deputies at Brussels, that he 
only valued his crown because it had been given 
to him by popular election ; and that if they liked 
to have it back again, it was at their disposal. In 
Prussia the agitation was very great. The scholarly 
and amiable king sympathized in many points 
with the German liberals, and committed himself 
somewhat too hastily to the popular view. In a 
proclamation issued by him on the 18th March, 
1848, he said: "Above all we demand that Ger- 
many shall be transformed from a federation of 
states into one federal state. We demand a general 
military system for Germany — a federal army 
assembled under one federal banner, and we hope 
to see a federal commander-in-chief at its head." 



A federal tribunal, a common law of settlement, 
the abolition of all custom-houses impeding in- 
ternal commerce, a general Zollverein for the whole 
of Germany, and uniformity of weights, measures, 
and money, formed other material points of the 
royal proclamation. For the execution of this 
just and liberal programme a firm hand was needed, 
and a mind thoroughly made up as to the course 
to be followed. Such was not the case with King 
Frederick William. In the midst of the joyful 
demonstration caused by his prompt concessions, a 
tumult arose, in which several persons were killed 
by the troops, and more wounded. The sincere 
regret of the king at what he thought a lamentable 
accident, emboldened the republican party to push 
forward their pretensions. The dead bodies of the 
citizens killed on the 18th March were on the 
22nd paraded with great pomp before the royal 
palace, where his majesty from the balcony bowed 
his head as the lifeless remains were carried by. 
A national guard was established in Berlin, and 
the king announced his intention of putting him- 
self at the head of a restored and united Germany. 
" His Majesty," said his minister in the assembly 
of Prussian Estates, "has promised a real consti- 
tutional charter, and we are assembled to lay the 
foundation stone of the enduring edifice. We 
hope that the work will proceed rapidly, and that 
it will perfect a great constitutional system for the 
whole German race." Prussia, however, was not 
as yet destined to be the instrument of this great 
work. 

The popular party had succeeded in gathering at 
Frankfort an assembly of three hundred representa- 
tives, to which was given the nameof the " VorParla- 
ment." This body decided the form of election to 
the German National Assembly, which was to meet 
at Frankfort in May, the members being returned 
on the radical principle of electoral districts — one 
deputy for every 7000 voters. The Assembly, 
when duly constituted, elected a regent of United 
Germany in the person of Archduke John of 
Austria. The choice was highly distasteful to 
the Prussian court, and King Frederick William 
soon began to show that his ardent liberalism was 
tempered by events. The counsels of his brother, 
then Crown Prince, now King William, a con- 
servative in principle, exercised considerable in- 
fluence over him. Armed force was employed 
to control the radical members of the Parliament 
assembled in Berlin, and it was not long before 



14 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN "WAR. 



similar treatment was brought to bear upon the 
national representatives gathered at Frankfort. In 
September, 1848, a revolt of the democrats in 
Frankfort against the national government was 
put down by Prussian and other federal soldiers. 
A similar insurrection in Baden, under the leader- 
ship of Struve, was suppressed with corresponding 
vigour. Altogether the German National Assembly 
did not prosper. Its aims were greater than its power 
to attain them. To Austria, especially, the demo- 
cratic nature of the constitution propounded was 
extremely distasteful. So also was the growing 
importance of Prussia, whom Austria, in Metter- 
nich's time, had succeeded in relegating to a 
subordinate position in German affairs. As the 
dangers which threatened monarchy in 1848 dimi- 
nished, the dualism of Austria and Prussia came 
out in stronger light, to the disadvantage of the 
National Assembly and its great work — German 
unification. The men assembled at Frankfort 
were stigmatized as a body of professors unac- 
quainted with practical politics. AVhile the revo- 
lutionary impulse was upon them and behind them, 
the idea of unity exercised a potency that seemed 
likely to give it permanence in the heart and mind 
of the nation. But these worthy gentlemen lost 
invaluable time in debating over paragraphs of 
the constitution, and fencing round principles of 
law and right, until their antagonists, the existing 
governments, regained strength, and " the ideal 
fabric of a new Germany dissolved like a castle in 
the clouds." In March, 1849, when the Assembly 
voted that the king of Prussia should be requested 
to become emperor of Germany, that monarch 
politely declined the honour; the Archduke John 
immediately resigned the office of regent, and the 
government at Vienna openly set at nought the 
Assembly, from which a few days later 121 Aus- 
trian members altogether withdrew. The rest of the 
Assembly split in two — part remaining in Frank- 
fort, part going to Stuttgard. The latter made 
some noisy attempts to democratize the institutions 
of the country, and were extinguished by the Wiir- 
temburg police. Thus the celebrated Frankfort 
assembly finally broke up, having sown precious seed 
in the popular mind, and laid the groundwork of a 
federal constitution which one day or other should 
be made compatible with the benefit of the whole 
country and the rights of single states — noeasy task. 
It became more and more evident that no unity 
.vas possible in Germanv while two powers so nearly 



matched were rival competitors for the leadership. 
Whatever was undertaken or promoted by Prussia 
was either secretly or openly opposed by Austria. 
" Germany," says Dr. Strauss, " fell into the condi- 
tion of a waggon with one horse before and another 
of equal strength behind, pulling one against the 
other, with no hope of moving." In 1850 these 
powers went so far as to attempt to make two con- 
federacies : Prussia had her union of princes (twenty- 
two and more) at Erfurth, while Austria collected 
her royal supporters at Munich, and matters were 
brought to a crisis by both parties interfering in a 
dispute which the elector of Cassel had with his 
Chamber of Representatives. Prussia having sided 
witli the Chamber, and Austria with the sovereign, 
both sent into his territory troops, which were on 
the verge of a collision that would have anticipated 
18C6, when the emperor of Russia interposed his 
authority, and secured the treaty of Olmutz. Ger- 
many resumed for a time its former shape, as settled 
by the Confederation treaty of 1815, and the old 
Diet met again at Frankfort in May, 1851. The 
vexed question of Schleswig and Holstein was 
also settled upon its ancient basis. After a sharp 
war, in which the Danes gained the victories of 
Fredericia and Idstedt, the insurgent German 
population returned to their allegiance without 
abandoning their claim to separate constitutions, 
as parts of the German Confederation. The battle 
of Idstedt was one of the first occasions on which 
the needle gun was employed in war. That ter- 
rible instrument was destined to play no mean part 
in the work of " blood and iron," by which alone 
the " thirty-seven rags" of Central Europe, as Max 
Midler expresses it, were to be sewed together in 
one strong garment of German unity. One im- 
portant bond uniting the separate states had been 
patiently woven by Prussia in the course of years. 
It was the Zollverein, or Custom's Union, com- 
menced in 1818, and gradually extended by treaty 
to an extent of country bounded by the Nether- 
lands and Russia, by the Baltic, Switzerland, and 
Bohemia. Throughout this wide territory free- 
dom of commerce has now prevailed for years, 
and a commodity, whether for consumption or 
transit, that has once passed the frontier of the 
league, may be conveyed without let or hindrance 
throughout its whole extent. The trials endured by 
Austria in the year of revolution, and her war of 
nationalities between Teuton and Magyar, have been 
alluded to, and will be again treated of hereafter. 




TLgrayefl. try TV; HoU, team. a. Hiotofrs 



A [Pi L 



CHAPTER II. 



Rise of Napoleon III — His youth and training— Worship of Napoleon I. — Descent on Strasburg — His capture and examination — His character 
drawn by Sir. Kinglake — Expedition to Boulogne — Louis Napoleon a prisoner — Tried by Chamber of Peers — His defence — Imprisonment 
at Ham — Faith in his Star — Promoter of the Nicaragnan Canal — Escape from prison not much regarded — Residence in England — 
Revolution of February — Election of Louis Napoleon to the Assembly — Unfavourable impression made by him — Elected President by 
Universal Suffrage — Differences with the Assembly — Coup d'Etat of 2nd December, 1851 — Arrest of leading Generals and Deputies — 
Massacre of the people in Paris — The President's oath and speech — Antagonism of rural and urban population of France — Proclamation 
of 2nd December — The Empire is peace — Napoleon III. voted Emperor — Harried to Countess Eugenie Teba — Difficulties in the East — 
Keys of the Church in Jerusalem — Differences with Russia — Crimean War — Peace of Paris — De Tocqueville on Napoleon — Austria and 
Italy — Felice Orsini — Attempt to assassinate the Emperor and Empress — Vapouring of French Colonels against England— Lord Palmer- 
ston's Conspiracy Bill defeated — Sardinia — Her Minister at the Paris Congress — Sketch of Count Cavour and his Policy — His opposition 
to Mazzini — Gioberti — D'Azeglio — Victor Emmanuel — Cavonr's interview with the Emperor at Plombieres — Differences between France 
and Austria — New Year's Day, 1859 — Baron Hilbner — Retrospect of events in Austria from 1848 to 1859— Preparations in Piedmont — 
Ultimatum sent from Vienna to Piedmont — War begun — Battles of Magenta, Solferino, San Martino — -Armistice — Interview of the 
Emperors at Villafranca — Peace preliminaries — Treaty of Zurich — Indignation in Italy — Resignation of Cavour — Rulers of the Central 
Provinces deposed — Farini — Ricasoli — Cipriani — Cavour reinstated in office — Parliament of Italy — Garibaldi — Sicily — Naples — Tbe 
Kingdom of Italy — Rome. 



It is necessary now to give an outline of the 
career of that remarkable man who exercised so 
much influence over events in Europe for the fol- 
lowing twenty years — •Napoleon III. 

Born at Paris in 1808, he was but seven 
years old when he last saw hh uncle the em- 
peror, at Malmaison, during the Hundred Days. 
On the banishment of his family from France 
the same year, he accompanied his mother 
Hortense, ex-queen of Holland, to Geneva, thence 
to Aix in Savoy, to Carlsruhe, and to Augs- 
bourg. In the last-named ancient German city 
he was a student at the gymnasium, and became 
an enthusiastic admirer of Schiller, one of whose 
poems he subsequently translated into French. 
When of sufficient age he served as an officer in 
the Swiss federal army. After the French revo- 
lution of 1830 he asked permission to re-enter 
France, which was refused. He and his elder 
brother then joined the Italians of Romagna in a 
struggle for independence. The brother died of 
his wounds, and Louis, after a dangerous illness, 
escaped with his mother to Paris, which they were 
ordered forthwith to quit. After a brief visit to 
England, he returned to his mother's house on 
Lake Constance, the Chateau dArenenberg. In 
1831 the Poles offered him the dangerous dis- 
tinction of being their leader in insurrection against 
Russia, but before he could reach Warsaw that 
city had been captured. The death of the duke 
of Reichstadt in 1832 left him heir to the first 
Xapoleon ; and as Louis Philippe persistently turned 



a deaf ear to his solicitations for leave to reside in 
France, thoughts of entering his native country 
by other means began to press upon his mind. 
That the prince had reasons for wishing to 
re-enter France that fully justified the king's 
prohibition, the sequel will show. He was a 
diligent student and a busy writer, with a 
subtle and penetrating brain, subject to the in- 
fluences of a vague, cloudy imagination, and an 
indecisive, not to say irresolute will. He paid 
great attention to artillery and engineering, and 
though he wrote and published many things of 
historical and literary interest, his best work is 
one entitled " Studies on the Past and Future of 
Artillery." For the memory of his uncle he 
entertained a feeling nearly allied to worship, and 
relied upon the magic of his name for doing great 
things some clay. The throne of the citizen king 
was not very firm. Abominable plots and attempts 
at regicide were frequently coming to light, and 
the king, with a shortsighted deference to the 
national vanity, encouraged the popular worship 
of Napoleon I. by erecting monuments to his 
memory, placing his portrait in public buildings, 
and finally by bringing his remains from the grave 
in St. Helena to be buried with great pomp in 
Paris. This was playing into the hands of the 
sombre watcher on the Castle of Arenenberg. The 
first attempt made by the young pretender to seize 
the throne of France was ridiculously inadequate 
to the occasion. He trusted almost entirely 
to the magic of the name Napoleon, which he 



16 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



seemed to think would produce as startling an 
effect as did the emperor's return from Elba in 
1815. Leaving his home on the 25th October, 
1836, for Strasburg, the wheel of his carriage 
came off at Lahr, delaying his project for a day, 
and filling a mind much given to ponderings 
on destiny with the weight of an evil omen. 
He reached Strasburg on the 28 th, at eleven 
o'clock at night, and having gained over Colonel 
Vaudrey and about a dozen officers, he went 
next morning at six o'clock to the artillery bar- 
racks, where he was received with some cheers. 
Proceeding further with a band of music before 
him, he tried to impose himself and his cause on 
General Voirol, but without success. That stout- 
hearted soldier had the prince arrested. The 
examination which followed throws some light 
on the Napoleonian ideas of that time : — " What 
urged you to act as you have done?" "My 
political opinions and a wish to see my country 
again, of which foreign invasion had deprived me. 
In 1830 I asked to be received as a simple citizen, 
and 1 was treated as a pretender ; very well, I have 
now behaved like a pretender." "You wanted 
to set up a military government?" I wished to 
set up a government founded on popular election." 
Having declared that he alone assumed all respon- 
sibility of the movement, he was removed to Paris, 
and by the 21st November was on board a frigate 
bound for America, dismissed from custody with a 
royal clemency that smacked strongly of contempt. 
Here will be seen the force of Mr. Kmglake's 
estimate of the prince's character: — "He had 
boldness of the kind which is produced by 
reflection, rather than that which is the result 
of temperament. In order to cope with the 
extraordinary perils into which he now and then 
thrust himself, and to cope with them dexter- 
ously, there was wanted a fiery quality which 
nature had refused to the great bulk of mankind 
as well as to him. But it was only in emer- 
gencies of a really trying sort, and involving 
instant physical danger, that his boldness fell 
short. He had all the courage which would 
have enabled him in a private station of life to 
pass through the common trials of the world 
with honour unquestioned ; but he had besides 
now and then a factitious kind of audacity pro- 
duced by long dreamy meditation ; and when 
he had wrought himself into that state, he was 
apt to expose his firmness to trials beyond his 



strength. His imagination had so great a sway 
over him as to make him love the idea of enter- 
prises, but it had not strength enough to give 
him a foreknowledge of what his sensations would 
be in the hour of trial." There is much justice 
in this elaborate analysis of character, as events 
have amply proved. The love of imaginary en- 
terprise, which made the prince a participator in 
the Eglinton Tournament, was the same ingredient 
in his character as that which led him to his 
second descent upon France. This singular 
transaction, which only escapes the epithet of 
ludicrous from its having been the cause of an 
honest man's death, took place at Boulogne on 
the 6th of August, 1840. After a few months' 
stay in New York the prince had returned to 
Europe in the autumn of 1837, to be present at 
his mother's death, and subsequently, in conse- 
quence of representations made by the French 
government to the government of Switzerland, 
he had quitted the latter country to reside in 
England. 

The following is a contemporary account of 
what was characterized as an " insane expedition:" 
The prince having hired, as for a voyage of pleasure, 
the Edinburgh Castle steamer from the Commercial 
Steam Navigation Company, embarked from Lon- 
don in August, accompanied by about fifty men, 
among whom were General Montholon, Colonels 
Yoisin, Laborde, Montauban, and Parquin, and 
several other officers of inferior rank. At three 
o'clock on the morning of the sixth they landed 
at Wimereux, a small port about two leagues from 
Boulogne, and directed their march to that town, 
where they arrived about five o'clock. They dis- 
tributed their proclamations to every body they 
met, and strewed five franc pieces to a rabble 
which preceded them. After traversing the lower 
town, they at length reached the barracks, where 
they found a company or two of the 42nd regi- 
ment of the line just rising from their beds. The 
soldiers, assured that a revolution had been effected 
in Paris, and summoned to join the eagle of the 
Empire, were for some time puzzled as to how they 
should act. One of their officers, however, hurry- 
ing to the barracks, relieved the men from their 
perplexity, and they recognized his authority. 
Louis Napoleon drew a pistol, and attempted to 
shoot the inopportune intruder ; the shot took 
effect upon a soldier, who died in the course of the 
day. After this fruitless experiment, an attempt 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



17 



was made on the post of St. Nicholas, which was 
occupied by four men and a sergeant. This post 
was firm, and would not yield. The prince then 
directed his march on the Upper Town, but found 
the gate which opens on the Esplanade shut before 
he reached it. Forced to make a tour round the 
town, the prince took the Calais road to the Colonne 
de Napoleon, which one of his party entered by 
breaking open the door at the foot, and, mounting 
to the top, placed their flag upon it. General 
Montholon and Colonel Parquin went to the port, 
expecting to have better success with the maritime 
part of the population, but they were there arrested 
by the commissary of police. 

The town authorities and national guard then 
went in pursuit of the prince, who, being inter- 
cepted on the side of the column, made for the 
beach, with the view to embark and regain the 
packet in which he had arrived. He took posses- 
sion of the life-boat; but scarcely had his followers 
got into it when the national guard also arrived on 
the beach, and discharged a volley on the boat, 
which immediately upset, and the whole company 
tumbled into the sea. In the meantime, the steam- 
packet was already taken possession of by the 
lieutenant of the port. The prince was then made 
prisoner, and three hours after his attempt on 
Boulogne he and his followers were in the castle 
prison. 

The prince was removed to the castle of Ham, 
and placed in the rooms once occupied by 
Prince Polignac. The most ludicrous feature 
of the exhibition is omitted by the chronicler ; 
namely, that the pretender bore with him a trained 
eagle, that was to fly from his arms to Paris, an 
emblem of his victorious march thither, and a 
living souvenir of the first empire. Tried before 
the Chamber of Peers, in September, the prince 
delivered an able speech, evidently the fruit of 
much study, and intended to interest his hearers 
in the Bonapartist claims. His peroration termi- 
nated with words that have been often quoted; 
words that made a profound, if unwholesome im- 
pression, on the martial mind of France, while 
they revealed the secret of a line of conduct that 
was to lead the utterer to a throne, and of a sub- 
sequent policy that was to end in his captivity. 
" One last word, gentlemen ! " he said; "I represent 
before you a principle, a cause, and a defeat: the 
principle is the sovereignty of the people; the 
cause is the empire; the defeat, Waterloo. The 



principle you have acknowledged; the cause you 
have served. The defeat you wish to avenge." 
This appeal to the coarsest national instincts sank 
into the minds of numberless Frenchmen, and 
bore fruit after many days. The prince was con- 
demned to perpetual imprisonment, and removed 
with General Montholon and Dr. Conneau to the 
castle of Ham, where he employed his enforced 
leisure in study and literary composition. One of 
his lucubrations, viewed by the light of recent 
events, possesses just now a peculiar interest. It 
was a paper contributed by him on the 7 th May, 
1843, to a journal called Progres du Pas de Calais, 
for which he wrote several articles at different 
times, and it sets forth very clearly the great 
superiority of the military organization of Prussia 
over that of France. He describes the four great 
elements of the Prussian forces, the army, the 
reserve, the landwehr, and the landsturm, and 
adds, " Thus Prussia, whose population scarcely 
amounts to two-fifths of that of France, is enabled 
for the defence of her territory to call into action 
530,000 trained men, and this armed force does 
not cost her 50,000,000 francs a year, while a few 
taps of the drum suffice to make these troops 
assemble or return to their homes." After con- 
demning the conscription as a " white slave trade, 
briefly defined as the purchase of a man by him 
who has the means to obtain remission from mili- 
tary service, and thus to send a man of the people 
to be killed in his stead;" he says, "In Prussia 
there are no substitutes," and proceeds to develop 
a plan by which France, if she were to adopt the 
Prussian system, would possess for the defence of 
the country an army of a million and a half of men, 
and costing less to the national exchequer than 
the then existing army of 344,000 men. Most 
remarkable is the conclusion of the article: — 
" Subtracting the 30,000 men required in Algeria, 
14,000 gendarmes, the veterans and the garrisons 
of Paris and of Lyons, France would not be able 
to bring 200,000 men into line upon the frontiers, 
while upon the line of the Ehine alone upwards of 
500,000 could be collected against her in less 
than a fortnight." What strange mental blindness 
and perversity can it have been that hid from the 
eyes of the emperor of 1870 the momentous facts 
which were so clearly visible to the meditative 
prisoner of Ham twenty-seven years before? An 
authentic anecdote is related of him at this time, 
which serves to illustrate the strong faith he had 
c 



18 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



in Ms star or destiny. The leading dentist in 
Paris, an American, went to see the prince pro- 
fessionally during his incarceration at Ham. At 
the moment of separating there happened to be 
a heavy shower of rain. " I have not even an 
umbrella to lend you," said the captive; "yet, do 
you know, I am persuaded that I shall one day be 
emperor of the French ! " 

In 1846 the prince was invited to undertake 
the guidance of a project for uniting the Atlantic 
and Pacific Oceans by a ship canal in Nicaragua. 
At the same period his father, the ex-king of 
Holland, fell seriously ill at Florence. Unable to 
obtain his release from the French government, he 
took measures for escaping from prison, and with 
the aid of his physician, Conneau, he walked out 
of the prison gate in the disguise of a workman on 
the morning of the 25th May, 1846. "We can- 
not," said a writer of the time, and a supporter of 
the government of M. Thiers, " we cannot speak of 
the escape of the Prince Louis Napoleon as of a 
political event. The liberty of that singidar pre- 
tender is no more a danger to public order than his 
captivity was a guarantee of it." The writer of 
these contemptuous words shared with many others 
in the ignorance of a potential element of mischief 
that was latent in the mass of French society, in 
the form of worship of Napoleon Bonaparte. M. 
Thiers himself was one of those who by their writ- 
ings encouraged this false idolatry, and revived a 
cruel lust for military glory, by playing upon which 
Prince Louis at length gained his ends. After 
his escape, abandoning the Nicaraguan scheme, he 
resided in England, awaiting and watching events. 
At length, on the 24th of February, 1848, he learnt 
in the manner already described, that his hour had 
come. With characteristic indecision, however, he 
still waited, and even after being elected a member 
of the National Assembly by five or six different 
constituencies he declined, in the face of a very 
slight opposition, to take his place in the Chamber. 
After the awful purification which the Republic 
underwent in the murderous insurrection of June, 
fresh elections ensued, and Louis Napoleon, re- 
turned by five several departments at once, took 
his seat on the 17th September. He found him- 
self, says one biographer, face to face with three 
clearly defined conditions ; to wit, the hostility of 
the Executive, the distrust of the Assembly, the 
confidence of the Electorate. The two first he 
had to subdue, the last to strengthen and extend. 



His reception by the Chamber was not encourag- 
ing. His impassive countenance, German accent, 
and slow utterance, gave little promise of intellec- 
tual power. " He is a wooden-headed fellow," said 
M. Thiers. " I will not," said M. Thouret in his 
presence, " do pretenders the honour to think aught 
of them individually." Nevertheless, the election 
of President of the Republic by universal suffrage 
was at hand, and on the 10th December the prince 
was raised to that distinction by five and a half 
million votes. Having thus conquered the " hos- 
tility of the Executive," whom he had supplanted, 
he prepared for his encounter with the mistrustful 
Assembly, whom he overthrew after three years' 
struggle by a conspiracy that has been described 
with highly coloured embellishments in the first 
volume of Mr. Kinglake's celebrated " History of 
the Invasion of the Crimea." The actual Assembly 
called the Constituent, to which Louis Napoleon 
was first sent as deputy, was dissolved in May, 1849, 
and a new Assembly — the Legislative — elected. 
It was in this body, better disposed though it was 
to the chief of the state, that M. Ledru Rollin and 
the Mountain proposed an impeachment of the pre- 
sident and his ministers for having violated the 
constitution by their intervention at Rome. Some 
tumult ensued (13th June, 1849), and Paris for a 
while was placed under martial law. The Right 
or moderate section of the Chamber succeeded, on 
the other hand, in placing some restriction on the 
universality of the suffrage, and evinced a deter- 
mination to control the supplies. The president, 
on his side, made progresses through the provinces, 
where he delivered conciliatory speeches. He also 
caressed the army, granting them indulgences of 
wine and cigars, and sought popularity in every 
possible way. Not having obtained the confidence 
of any leading statesmen or distinguished members 
of the best class of society, he was resolved to place 
his reliance on the " confidence of the Electorate " 
already spoken of; and associating himself with 
certain adventurous spirits, who had everything to 
gain by the change, and little to lose in case of 
failure, he prepared the celebrated coup d'dtat of 
1851. On the Monday night, says Mr. Kinglake, 
between the 1st and the 2nd of December, the 
president had his usual assembly at the Elysee. 
Ministers who were loyally ignorant of what was 
going on, were mingled with those who were in 
the plot. Vieyra was present. He was spoken 
to by the president, and he undertook that the 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



19 



national guard should not beat to arms that night. 
He went away, and it is said that he fulfilled his 
humble task by causing the drums to be mutilated. 
At the usual hour the assembly began to disperse, 
and by eleven o'clock there were only three guests 
who remained. These were Morny (who had pre- 
viously taken care to show himself at one of the 
theatres), Maupas, and St. Arnaud, formerly Le 
Roy. There was, besides, an orderly officer of the 
president, called Colonel Beville, who was initi- 
ated in the secret. Persigny, it seems, was not 
present. 

Morny, Maupas, and St. Arnaud went with the 
president into his cabinet ; Colonel Beville followed 
them. Mocquard, the private secretary of the 
president, was in the secret, but it does not appear 
that he was in the room at this time. Fleury 
too, it seems, was away; he was probably on an 
errand which tended to put an end to the hesita- 
tion of his more elderly comrades, and drive them 
to make the venture. They were to strike the 
blow that night. 

The president intrusted a packet of letters to 
Colonel Beville, and despatched him to the state 
printing office. These papers were the proclama- 
tions required for the early morning, and M. St. 
Georges, the director, gave orders to put them into 
type. They said that there was something like 
resistance; but in the end, if not at first, the 
printers obeyed. Each compositor stood, whilst 
he worked, between two policemen, and the manu- 
script being cut into many pieces, no one could 
make out what he was printing. By these procla- 
mations the president asserted that the Assembly 
was a hot-bed of plots ; declared it dissolved ; pro- 
nounced for universal suffrage; proposed a new 
constitution; vowed anew that his duty was to 
maintain the Republic; and placed Paris and the 
twelve surrounding departments under martial law. 

In one of the proclamations he appealed to the 
army, and strove to whet its enmity against 
civilians, by reminding it of the defeats inflicted 
upon the troops in 1830 and 1848. The presi- 
dent wrote letters dismissing the members of the 
government who were not in the plot; but he did 
not cause these letters to be delivered until the 
following morning. He also signed a paper ap- 
pointing Morny to the Home Office. 

At six o'clock a brigade of infantry, under Forey, 
occupied the Quai d'Orsay, and other troops in 
considerable force occupied important points in 



the capital. Almost at the same time Maupas, 
chief of the police, who had been instructed to 
arrest the disaffected, had his orders carefully 
obeyed. At the appointed minute, and whilst it 
was still dark, the designated houses were entered. 
The most famous generals of France were seized. 
General Changarnier, General Bedeau, General 
Lamoriciere, General Cavaignac, and General Leflo, 
were taken from their beds and carried away 
through the sleeping city, and thrown into prison. 
In the same minute the like was done with some 
of the chief officers of the Assembly, and amongst 
others with Thiers, Miot, Baze, Colonel Charras, 
Roger du Nord, and several of the democratic 
leaders. Some men, believed to be the chiefs of 
secret societies, were also seized. The number of 
men thus seized in the dark was seventy-eight. 
Eighteen of these were members of the Assembly. 
When the fight of the morning dawned, people 
saw the proclamations on the walls, and slowly 
came to hear that numbers of the foremost men of 
France had been seized in the night-time, and that 
every general to whom the friends of law and 
order could look for help was lying in one or 
other of the prisons. The newspapers to which a 
man might run in order to know, and know truly, 
what others thought and intended, were all seized 
and stopped. The gates of the Assembly were 
closed and guarded. In the course of the morning 
the president, accompanied by his uncle Jerome 
Bonaparte and Count Flahault, and attended by 
many general officers and a numerous staff, rode 
through some of the streets of Paris. Upon the 
whole, the reception he met with seems to have 
been neither friendly nor violently hostile, but 
chilling, and in a quiet way scornful. Prince 
Louis rode home, and went in out of sight. 
Thenceforth, for the most part, he remained close 
shut up in the Elys^e. There, in an inner room, 
still decked in red trousers, but with his back to 
the day-light, they say he sat bent over a fire- 
place for hours and hours together, resting his 
elbows on his knees, and burying his face in his 
hands. 

The remnant of the Assembly, to the number of 
220 deputies, having met at the mayoralty of the 
tenth arrondissement, was driven out and marched 
between files of soldiery through the streets to the 
D'Orsay barracks, where they were held in custody. 
At a quarter before ten o'clock at night a large 
number of the windowless vans which are used for 



20 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN "WAR. 



the transport of felons were brought into the court 
of the barracks, and into these 230 members were 
thrust. They were carried off, some to the fort of 
Mount Valerian, some to the fortress of Vincennes, 
and some to the prison of Mazas. Still, there was 
a remnant of the old insurrectionary forces, which 
was willing to try the experiment of throwing up 
a few barricades. Having formed a Committee of 
Eesistance, several members of the Assembly went 
into the Faubourg St. Antoine, and strove to raise 
the people. They also caused barricades to be 
thrown up in that mass of streets between the 
Hotel de Ville and the Bouvelard, which is the 
accustomed centre of an insurrection in Paris. 

In the afternoon of the 4th, numbers of specta- 
tors, including many women, crowded the foot 
pavement. These gazers had no reason for sup- 
posing that they incurred any danger, for they 
could see no one with whom the army would have 
to contend. According to some, a shot was fired 
from a window or a house-top near the Eue du 
Sentier. Some of the soldiery in reply fired point 
blank into the mass of spectators who stood gazing 
upon them from the foot pavement, and the rest of 
the troops fired up at the gay crowded windows 
and balconies. Of the people on the foot pavement 
who were not struck down at first, some rushed 
away and strove to find a shelter, or even a half 
shelter, at any spot within reach. Others tried to 
crawl away on their hands and knees, for they 
hoped that perhaps the balls might fly over them. 
The impulse to shoot people had been sudden, but 
was not momentary. The soldiers loaded and 
reloaded with a strange industry, and made haste 
to kill and kill, as though their lives depended 
upon the quantity of the slaughter they could get 
through in some given period of time. They 
broke into many houses, hunted the inmates from 
floor to floor, caught them at last and slaughtered 
them. These things, no doubt, they did under a 
notion that shots had been fired from the house 
which they entered, but it is certain that in almost 
all these instances, if not in every one of them, the 
impression was false. The whole number of people 
killed by the troops during the forty hours which 
followed upon the commencement of the massacre 
of the Boulevards will never be known. The bury- 
ing of the bodies was done for the most part at night. 
In the army which did these things, the whole 
number of killed was twenty-five. Before the 
morning of the 5th, the armed insurrection had 



ceased. The fate of the provinces resembled the 
fate of the capital. 

These are the things which Charles Louis Napo- 
leon did. What he had sworn to do was set forth 
in the oath which he took on the 20th of December, 
1848. On that day he stood before the National 
Assembly, and lifting his right arm towards 
Heaven thus swore: — "In the presence of God, 
and before the French people represented by the 
National Assembly, I swear to remain faithful to 
the democratic republic, one and indivisible, and 
to fulfil all the duties which the constitution im- 
poses upon me." 

What he had pledged his honour to do was set 
forth in the promise which of his own free will he 
addressed to the Assembly. Beading from a paper 
which he had prepared, he uttered these words : — 
" The votes of the nation, and the oath which I 
have just taken, command my future conduct. 
My duty is clear. I will fulfil it as a man of hon- 
our. I shall regard as enemies of the country all 
those who endeavour to change, by illegal means, 
that which all France has established." 

So little did oaths and declarations avail to 
secure the constitution, when craft and force 
united to overturn it. Yet all the guile and vio- 
lence of the world would not have achieved this 
sad victory had there not been developed in the 
French nation principles of division, that form a 
potent auxiliary to every usurper and every politi- 
cal adventurer that knows but how to use them. 
There are, says an able publicist, in France two 
intense political passions — the passion of property 
among the country peasants, and the passion for 
socialism among the town ouvriers. And, unhap- 
pily, these passions are entirely opposed. " So- 
cialism" is an obscure term, and the idea in the 
minds of those who cleave to it is of the vaguest 
and wildest kind; still, on the whole, it means a 
system wishing to amend property — a system in- 
compatible with present property. The passionate 
part of the Bepublicans in 1848, the only part of 
them who were eager and many, meant more or 
less distinctly what Louis Blanc said distinctly. 
He aimed avowedly at a system in which wages 
received should be proportionate, not to work done, 
but to wants felt. He would have given a man 
with many children much, and a man with few 
children little; and he would have taxed without 
limit existing property for that object. A still 
more violent reasoner invented the celebrated 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



21 



phrase La proprie'te, cest le vol, or " Property is 
robbery." And this is only a strict deduction 
from the elementary wish of socialists that all men 
are to " start fair." In that case all inherited pro- 
perty is unjust, and all gifts among the living 
by which the children of the rich become better off 
than the children of the poor are unjust too. Both 
violate the equality of the start ; both make life an 
adjusted and "handicapped" race — an existence 
where accidental advantages impair or outweigh 
intrinsic qualities. Roughly it may be said that 
the main desire of the city socialists in France, on 
grounds more or less honest, is to attack property; 
and that the sole desire of the country peasants 
is, on grounds more or less selfish, to maintain 
property. And between the two how can you 
mediate ? or out of the two combined how can you 
make anything? The antagonism is as perfect as 
between plus and minus : you can make up no 
compound; you can find no intermediate term; you 
must choose between the two. 

The selection can, we fear, only be made by 
force; hitherto at least it has been so. Paris is 
France for the purpose of making a government, 
but it is not France for the purpose of keeping a 
government. The Parisians put in a Republic by 
revolution resting more or less on socialism and the 
artisans. The Republic, as its nature requires, 
appeals to the people — that is, to the country. In 
response to the appeal back comes an assembly 
full of dislike to the socialistic Republic, above all 
things anxious for property, full of the panic of 
the proprietary peasantry. And then begins the 
strife between the conservative Chamber and the 
innovating mob — a strife which is too keen and 
internecine to be confined to words only, which 
soon takes to arms and to the streets, and settles 
the victory there. If the Republic asks France 
not for a Chamber, but for a president, the result 
will be the same in essence. The President Louis 
Napoleon was the nominee of the country, while 
the Republic was the choice of the towns. 

The proclamation which greeted the waking 
eyes of the Parisians on that 2nd December, 1851, 
contained the following five propositions, on which 
France was required to vote "aye" or "no" by 
universal suffrage. 1. A responsible chief, elected 
for ten years. 2. A cabinet appointed by him 
alone. 3. A council of state, consisting of the 
most eminent men, who are to prepare the laws 
which are to be introduced, and support them 



before the legislative body. 4. A legislative body 
named by universal suffrage, without any scrutiny 
of the votes. 5. A second assembly formed of 
all the eminent men in the country, at once 
the guardians of the fundamental paction and the 
public liberties. These proposals, which, to a 
people in mortal terror of socialism and the red 
revolution, seemed plausible enough, were voted for 
by 7,481,231 hands, and practically secured imperial 
power to Louis Napoleon. The simple issue of 
aye or no left the people little choice. A large 
deportation also of ultra-republicans, to the extent 
of 30,000 men, helped to paralyze the intellectual 
and political independence of the country. The 
voters of no amounted to no more than 684,399. 
Thus by an overwhelming majority France closed 
the convulsions of the revolution of 1848 by a 
military despotism based on universal suffrage. 
A great crime was committed, but surviving 
France had peace for a time, and material pros- 
perity returned to her. Again, in the summer 
of 1852, the president made a progress through 
the provinces, and at Bordeaux delivered a speech 
which revealed his intention to make further 
changes: — " France seems to wish to return 
to the Empire" he said, "but a certain fear 
exists which I would dispel. Certain persons say 
that the Empire means war, but I say the Empire 
means peace ! Peace because France wishes it; 
and when France is satisfied, the world is tran- 
quil." After this the senate, on the 7th of Novem- 
ber, voted there-establishment of the Empire, which 
decision was confirmed by another plebiscitum, in 
which there were 7,824,189 affirmative votes; and 
on the 1st December, 1852, the prince president 
was solemnly proclaimed at St. Cloud to be 
"Napoleon 111., by the grace of God and the will 
of the people, Emperor of the French." In the fol- 
lowing month (29th January, 1853), the emperor 
married Eugenie Marie de Guzman, comtesse de 
Teba, a lady with Scotch blood in her veins, and 
twenty-seven years of age. Thus enthroned and 
domesticated the parvenu, as his Majesty described 
himself, in announcing his marriage to the 
Senate, sought to strengthen his position by 
occupying his people in a foreign war. England, 
in the person of Lord Palmerston, had been in 
haste to recognize his accession to the imperial 
throne, and England would serve well if she could 
be drawn into a close alliance, offensive and defen- 
sive. The reader who wishes to know how such 



22 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



an alliance was brought about, is referred to Mr. 
Kinglake's History, which, though exaggerated in 
tone and bitter in temper, is substantially correct 
as regards the main facts. English jealousy of 
Russian power in the East was the moral engine 
used to draw her into the Crimean war. That 
England "drifted" into that war without good 
reason, and at a vain sacrifice of blood and treasure, 
is now generally admitted. Its history in brief is 
this: — It had long been the annual practice of 
Christians of the Latin and of the Greek church 
to make a pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre at Jerusalem, and when there in numbers 
sufficient, to show their mutual animosity by a quar- 
relsome tumult that had to be suppressed by the 
Mahometan soldiers of the Sultan. The czar of 
Russia, self-elected protector of the Greek Church, 
demanded possession of this church, and the 
emperor of the French, self- elected patron of 
the Romish church, also demanded the key. 
The general question of the protection of and 
influence with the Christian subjects of the 
Sublime Porte underlay this petty squabble. The 
Czar, with a covetous eye on Constantinople, 
revealed to the English ambassador at his court, 
that in his opinion Turkey was like a sick man, 
the division of whose inheritance it woidd be well 
to anticipate. He hinted pretty plainly that Eng- 
land might take Egypt, if Russia were allowed 
to take Constantinople. The publication of this 
imprudent conversation created much ill feeling 
between the countries. Russia pushed her claims 
upon Turkey for fresh privileges to the Christians 
under Ottoman rule. The Porte, learning that 
France and England would give support, assumed a 
determined aspect, and resented an affront offered to 
the Sultan by the Czar's envoy Prince Mentschikoff. 
Hereupon Russian troops crossing the river Pruth 
entered Turkish territory, and the English and 
French fleets approached the Dardanelles. The 
Turks had a fleet at Sinope in the Black Sea, 
which the Russians surprised and burnt to the 
water's edge. Indignation was roused in the 
West by this act of destruction, and war began 
in earnest. At Sevastopol in the Crimea the 
Russians had built at enormous cost a very 
strong fortress, which, commanding the Black 
Sea, was a perpetual menace to Turkey. Against 
this a joint expedition was undertaken in Septem- 
ber, 1854, by the naval and military forces of 
England, France, and Turkey, with the subsequent 



addition, early in 1855, of a contingent furnished 
by the king of Sardinia. The victorious battle of 
the Alma (20th September, 1854), was followed by 
the tedious siege of Sevastopol, which lasted 330 
days, having cost many thousand lives from cold and 
disease, as much as from the bullet and the sword. 
The battles of Balaclava, Inkermann, and Tcher- 
naya were brilliant episodes in this siege. Czar 
Nicholas being dead, his son Alexander II., after 
the fall of Sevastopol (September 8, 1855), made 
peace on easy terms with the allied powers at a 
congress which met at Paris in February, 1856. 
England gained little in this contest but the 
honour of having fought. To the Emperor Napo- 
leon such honour was of great value, as it placed him 
on a level with the ancient sovereigns of Europe, 
and revived in a faint degree the remembrance of the 
first Napoleon. Yet a keen-sighted man and pro- 
found politician, the late M. de Tocqueville, formed 
no high opinion of the emperor's capacity for con- 
ducting a great war like this. Speaking of it in 
1854, he said: — " The real prime minister is, 
without doubt, Louis Napoleon himself. But he 
is not a man of business. He does not understand 
details. He may order certain things to be done; 
but he will not be able to ascertain whether the 
proper means have been taken. He does not know, 
indeed, what these means are. He does not trust 
those who do. A war which would have tasked 
all the power of Napoleon, and of Napoleon's 
ministers and generals, is to be carried on, without 
any master mind to direct it, or any good instruments 
to execute it. I fear some great disaster." If these 
words had been spoken of the Prussian war, in 
1870, they would have been more apt and prophetic. 
Since the reconquest of Italy by Austria in 1849, 
the elements of revolt had been fermenting. The 
secret societies laboured to bring about a republic 
in obedience to the promptings of their indefatig- 
able leader Mazzini. But the prospects of success 
seemed to diminish daily, and a rancorous feeling 
against the man who had driven the triumvirate 
from Rome, and still held the possession of the 
Eternal City, urged these impetuous spirits to 
avenge their wrongs by his death. A plot for the 
assassination of Napoleon III. was arranged in 
London, and it fell to the lot of Felice Orsini, an 
enthusiastic republican of good education, to be the 
emperor's executioner. Evading the vigilance of 
the French police, he and three accomplices reached 
Paris in February, 1858, and on the 14th of that 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



23 



month, as the emperor and empress were going to 
the opera in state, three bombs were flung at the 
cortege and exploded with fatal effect. The imperial 
carriage was broken, and several passers by and 
soldiers of the escort were killed and wounded, but 
the emperor and empress remained unhurt. Great 
was the indignation that this criminal attempt 
caused throughout France, not only against the 
conspirators but against the place of their refuge. 
England was vilified as being a nest of assassins, 
and certain vapouring French colonels talked of 
avenging Waterloo there and then. To the sur- 
prise of Englishmen a somewhat dictatorial letter 
of Count Walewski's on the subject, was not 
answered with the spirit that men expected from 
Lord Palmerston, the then minister. On the con- 
trary, a bill was brought into Parliament, in com- 
pliance with the wish of the French government, 
in order to strengthen the law against aliens who 
should plot against sovereigns in friendly alliance 
with England. The offence, which had previously 
been a misdemeanour, was to be made a felony, 
and to be visited with a punishment proportionately 
condign. Not unfair in itself, this bill by its 
occasion excited the anger of the English public; 
and the House of Commons, responsive to the 
popular feeling, threw out the bill, and with it 
Lord Palmerston and the ministry. It is not 
impossible that this sharp rebuff taught the French 
emperor, that the defeat of which he styled him- 
self the representative, namely, Waterloo, was not 
just then to be avenged with advantage to himself. 
The next January revealed other schemes, result- 
ing it may be in part from impressions produced 
on the mind of the old Carbonaroby Orsini's attack, 
his language when in prison, and the letter written 
by him on the eve of execution, in which he called 
upon the emperor to deliver his country from the 
yoke of the foreigner. Italy should be freed, and 
Austria humbled. 

Europe had not seen without surprise Sardinian 
troops taking part in the expedition to the Crimea. 
The presence of Cavour, the minister of Victor 
Emmanuel, at the Paris congress, and the language 
he held there, led sagacious observers to think that 
more would come of this alliance between Sardinia, 
France, and England, than then appeared on the 
surface. At the congress he protested in the name 
of his government against the new extension of 
Austrian influence in the Italian peninsula in 
defiance of treaty stipulations, and averred that if 



nothing were done to remedy this state of things, 
grave dangers to the peace of the world might 
ensue. Count Walewski, president of the congress, 
taking this protest into consideration, invited the 
attentive solicitude of the assembled plenipoten- 
tiaries to the internal condition of Italy, and in 
this he was warmly supported by Lord Clarendon, 
the English envoy. A word or two on Count 
Cavour will not be misplaced here. 

Camillo Benso di Cavour was born at Turin in 
1810, five years before the Congress of Vienna had 
concocted that treaty, the deadly effects of which in 
Italy he was destined within half a century to coun- 
teract. His father held office in Piedmont under 
Prince Borghese, who married Pauline Bonaparte, 
the sister of Napoleon I. Young Camillo, being 
god-child to these high personages, had an early 
predilection in favour of the Bonaparte family. The 
revolutionary changes accomplished in Italy under 
the first Napoleon, in which so many of the 
divisions of territory disappeared, planted in his 
mind fruitful ideas favourable to Italian unity. 
As a boy he served Charles Albert, then known as 
a liberal, in the capacity of page. While an officer 
of engineers he was for his free speech on political 
topics ordered to the fort of Bard for a year, at 
the expiration of which he resigned his commis- 
sion, and devoted his mind to the social and political 
questions of the day. In reply to a letter of con- 
dolence at this time (1832), he wrote these pro- 
phetic words: — " I thank you for the interest you 
take in my misfortune; but believe me I shall still 
accomplish my career in spite of it. I am a very, 
an enormously ambitious man, and when I am 
minister I shall justify my ambition ; for I tell you, 
in my dreams I already see myself minister of the 
kingdom of Italy." On the accession of Charles 
Albert, the father of Cavour was appointed vicario 
of Turin, an office involving the charge of the 
police and the duty of watching the liberal party. 
The odium connected with this office was partly 
reflected on the enthusiastic young liberal, who, on 
the other hand, was disliked by the aristocratic 
party for his opinions. He went to Geneva, to 
Paris, to London, and studied the English con- 
stitution with great satisfaction and profit. Ee- 
turning to Italy in 1842, he took part in such 
social reforms as were feasible, and published many 
valuable papers on historical subjects and on ques- 
tions of political economy. As the year 1848 
approached, more momentous interests came into 



24 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



view. Cavour, says Signor Botta, in his admirable 
discourse on this statesman, regarded the projects 
of Mazzini as utterly powerless to lighten the 
burden of domestic rule, and to emancipate the 
country from foreign domination. A practical 
man by nature, and a statesman of the school 
which acknowledges Machiavelli as its founder, 
and Richelieu and Burke as its great represen- 
tatives, his policy was not engendered in the secret 
chambers of conspiracy, but was moulded on a com- 
prehensive knowledge of the forces which patriotism 
could command, and on the just appreciation of the 
necessity of the time. Accordingly he believed that 
the conquest of nationality could only be effected 
through the harmonizing of many antagonistic 
interests, and the combination of many clashing 
tendencies, the control of which depended entirely 
on slow, patient, and steady action. From the 
first appearance of Mazzini, he had not only 
refused to take any part in his futile and spasmodic 
efforts, but he had unreservedly discouraged and 
condemned his policy as anti-national, and big 
with calamities. Regarding the growth of public 
sentiment as the true regenerative force, he now 
hailed with delight the favour with which the 
more conservative views of Cesare Balbo, Massimo 
dAzeglio, and Vincenzo Gioberti were received. 
These writers, however discordant in minor 
points, all agreed in urging upon their country- 
men the necessity of radically changing the method 
of revolutionary action, of doing away with all 
secret conspiracies, and of openly labouring for 
the attainment of national independence. They 
strove to enlist in the cause the interest and 
ambition of the Italian princes, and insisted on 
the possibility of a compact between them and 
the states, by which the rulers were to grant 
concessions calculated to infuse new life into the 
country, and the people to extend to them the 
tenure of their power. Had the princes followed 
that course they would have been thrown into 
the onward current, and, soon separated from 
Austria, they would have been forced into a 
confederation in order to protect themselves from 
the common enemy, who sooner or later would 
have been expelled from the peninsula. So, while 
Mazzini struggled for nationality by attempting 
to establish a republic — an enterprise rendered 
impossible by the condition of Europe and Italy 
herself — the chiefs of the new party proposed to 
accomplish the same object through the existing 



monarchy, renovated, however, by constitutional 
liberty. 

Prominent among these leaders was Gioberti. 
A man of lofty patriotism and saintly character, a 
philosophical writer of great renown, distinguished 
by depth, breadth, and novelty of thought, as well 
as by brilliancy of style, his influence was power- 
ful and salutary. Considering the papal and the 
Austrian governments as the two main stumbling- 
blocks to Italian independence, in his works he 
aimed at the overthrow of both. The Papacy he 
did not directly attack, as his predecessors in 
philosophy had done, but he attempted to flank 
and turn it into the service of the nation. He 
sketched an ideal Papacy, youthful and vigorous, 
which he endeavoured to assimilate to the old and 
worn-out institution of the Vatican, and to place 
at the head of the Italian movement. The appear- 
ance of Pius IX. in the garb of a reformer seemed 
for a moment to reduce his theory to fact, though 
in reality it rendered the discrepancies and incon- 
gruities between the ideal and the real Papacy 
more conspicuous and irreconcilable. When Pius 
IX. abandoned the Italian cause, which as pope he 
could not consistently support, Gioberti, leaving 
at once the Papacy to its own destiny, sought 
other more substantial bases for national existence, 
and pointed out the house of Savoy as the only 
hope of Italy. 

The project of an Italian confederacy, under the 
nominal presidency of the pope, and the actual 
leadership of Sardinia, being the only form of 
national existence which at that time appeared 
practicable, was accepted by Cavour, and he 
shaped his policy accordingly, giving, however, 
but little importance to the papal element. When 
the censorship of the press was somewhat relaxed, 
he established in Turin, in connection with Cesare 
Balbo and others, the Risorgimento, a daily 
paper, of which he became the chief editor, and 
which, owing to his skilful management, exerted 
a great influence on the course of events. In this 
paper he advocated the independence of Italy, 
union between princes and people, progressive 
reform, and a confederation of the Italian states; 
he developed also those more general principles 
of free government which he afterwards carried 
out in his administration. In the beginning of 
1848 Cavour took the still more important step 
of demanding from Charles Albert a constitution 
for his native state, till then under absolute sway. 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



25 



Whatever may have been the effect of this com- 
munication, it is certain that the constitution was 
soon after granted, and he who was first to demand 
it was, within a few years, called to mould it into 
the corner stone of the liberties of the whole Italian 
people. Had Charles Albert longer resisted the 
advancing tide of public opinion, his dynasty would 
in all probability have been swept away with those of 
the other Italian rulers. In 1848 he waged war, and 
issued the famous proclamation by which he placed 
himself at the head of the revolution, and secured 
for his state the leadership of the nation. Occupy- 
ing a commanding position between the Alps and 
the Mediterranean, inhabited by a people dis- 
tinguished by their practical sense, vigour of char- 
acter, and warlike spirit, and ruled by a dynasty 
whose power in Italy had been gradually aug- 
mented during eight centuries, Sardinia seemed 
peculiarly fitted for the destiny assigned her. 
From this time she made common cause with the 
whole nation; and bravely entering into the arena, 
staked her own existence on the issue. Believing 
the democratic tendencies of the times utterly ruin- 
ous to the national cause, Cavour fearlessly threw 
himself against the prevailing current of opinion, 
and thus greatly increased his unpopularity. But 
this could not deter him from performing what 
he considered his duty, for he did not belong 
to that class of politicians whose love of country 
is subservient to self-interest, and whose object 
is confined to flattering popular passions and 
prejudices. It was a striking spectacle to see 
him at that time, from his seat in the Chamber, 
defying the storm of hisses and yells with which 
he was frequently assailed from the galleries. 
Often he called them to order, or moved that they 
should be cleared, according to the rules. " I am 
not to be prevented from speaking," said he on one 
occasion, " by shouts and hisses. What I believe 
to be true, that will I speak out. If you compel 
me to silence, you insult not me alone, but the 
Chamber; and now I shall proceed:" and with his 
usual self-possession he resumed his discourse. 
The disasters of 1848 and 1849 were mainly owing 
to the want of unity in the pursuit of national 
independence. As the first campaign had failed 
through the defection of Pius IX. and other princes, 
the misfortunes of the second were chiefly due to 
the attempts of the minority to introduce republi- 
can governments into some of the states. So Italy 
fell; on the plains of Novara, on the lagoons of 



Venice, within the walls of her ancient capital, she 
was defeated because she was not united; because 
while Nice was fighting for the common cause, 
Naples and Palermo bowed under the iron yoke 
of the Bourbon, and Kome and Florence allowed 
themselves to be led astray by the mad hallucina- 
tions of Mazzini. With Italy Sardinia was crushed ; 
she saw her king in disguise pass through the camp 
of the enemy on his way to exile, her standards 
trailed in the dust, the stronghold of Alessandria 
garrisoned by the Austrians, her army almost 
destroyed, her finances ruined, her commerce 
obstructed, her people distracted, her very exist- 
ence imperilled. Victor Emmanuel pledged his 
word to uphold the free institutions of the state, 
and to retain the leadership of the nation ; he in- 
trusted himself and the administration of the coun- 
try to Massimo dAzeglio, whose name alone was 
a symbol of nationality. No man represented the 
cause more entirely, and none was more fitted to 
guide the state through that dangerous period. 
Though born in Turin, he had passed his life 
chiefly in Eome and Florence, and from the 
study of Italian history, literature, and art, he 
had derived that national character by which his 
career has been so singularly marked. 

In 1848 he had laid aside the pencil and the 
pen for the sword ; he had fought gaUantly, and 
had been wounded on the field ; and thus prepared 
both by thought and action, on the accession of 
Victor Emmanuel he was called to the premiership 
of the cabinet. His high moral nature, his earnest- 
ness, his accomplishments, the simplicity and the 
refinement of his manners, softened by the influ- 
ence of literature and the arts, his eloquence, and 
his devotion to the country, endeared him to the 
people ; while his aristocratic connections, his well 
known moderation and prudence, and his open 
opposition to the Mazzini party, rendered him 
acceptable to the courts of Europe. When reac- 
tion menaced the only free state of the peninsula, 
and the republicans by their futile attempts at 
revolution seemed bent on precipitating a crisis 
that would involve the armed intervention of 
Europe, the constitutional party stood by Azeglio, 
and opposed the enemies of the constitution both 
at home and abroad. Thus Sardinia was saved 
from the dire calamities prepared for her by the 
conspiracies concocted, at the same time and for 
the same purpose, in the cabinets of diplomacy 
and in the secret councils of agitators. The con- 



26 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



stitutional party found in Cavour its most power- 
ful and devoted supporter; and when the storm had 
somewhat subsided, he at once urged upon the 
government more progressive measures. Vastly 
surpassed by Azeglio in aesthetic attainments, 
Cavour towered over him in extent of knowledge, 
comprehensiveness of intellect, quickness of percep- 
tion, force of character, and energy of action ; and 
while the one in great crises advanced timidly 
and slowly, feeling his way, the other, with his 
object clearly in view, and the full consciousness 
of his power, overleaped all impediments. 

These peculiarities in the character of the two 
statesmen nature had impressed even on their 
external appearance. The slender form, the delicate 
features, and the poetical expression of Azeglio, 
marked him as a man of refined sensibility and 
romantic sentiments; as the keen eye, the broad 
brow, and the sturdy figure of Cavour indicated at 
once the iron will and the power to enforce it. 
Cavour urged on Azeglio vigorous measures of 
reform, and advocating a progressive policy, he thus | 
addressed the administration, " Go on boldly, then, 
in the path of reform. Do not hesitate because you 
are told that the time is inexpedient ; do not fear 
lest you should weaken the constitutional monarchy 
intrusted to your charge. Instead of weakening it j 
you will cause it to take such firm root in the I 
country, that even if the storm of revolution should 
arise around us, the monarchy will not only not 
succumb to the onslaught, but, collecting around it 
all the vital forces of Italy, will lead our nation to 
the lofty destiny prepared for her." 

In the autumn of 1850, on the death of Count 
Santa Rosa, Cavour was named his successor as 
minister of agricultural and commercial affairs ; he 
was soon after charged with the department of 
the navy, and later with the still more important 
one of finance. It is said that when his appoint- 
ment was suggested by Azeglio to the king, he 
remarked with striking foresight, " It is very well, 
but this man will soon supplant you all;" and 
indeed Cavour was not long in the cabinet before 
he became its ruling spirit. He was scarcely 
seated in his ministerial chair before he made over- 
tures to all the principal governments of Europe, 
which soon resulted in commercial treaties with 
England, France, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, 
the Zollverein, Switzerland, Holland, and even with 
Austria. He strove to open new avenues to com- 
merce, planted a consulate wherever he could find 



a ship, and urged the establishment of a line of 
steamers between the Mediterranean and the two 
Americas. Indeed, free trade became in the 
hands of Cavour a political engine as well as an 
economical principle; and by making Sardinia a 
free market, and connecting her with the com- 
merce of other nations, he rendered her expansion 
and prosperity an object of interest to them all. The 
principle of free trade has probably nowhere been so 
successfully tested as in Sardinia, although it had 
its first trial at a time when the resources of the 
country were crippled by two disastrous wars, by 
mysterious diseases which long affected the two 
staples, silkworms and vines, and by various com- 
mercial crises in Europe and America. To Cavour 
Sardinia is also chiefly indebted for the network of 
railroads which furrows her territory. It was only 
one year from the time when he entered the 
cabinet, and so vigorously commenced the work of 
retrieving the country from its prostrate condition, 
when the night of the 2nd of December, 1851, closed 
upon the grave of the French Republic. Three years 
before the coup d'etat took place, pointing out the 
dangers by which France was menaced, Cavour 
had predicted in so many words, that the socialis- 
tic tendencies which then prevailed would bring 
the nephew of the great emperor to the imperial 
throne. 

The political condition of France has always 
reacted on other nations, and after the coup 
d'etat despotism became more threatening towards 
Sardinia. News of that event had scarcely reached 
the capitals of Europe before remonstrances from 
various governments were addressed to the court 
of Turin, urging the necessity of abolishing or 
curtailing the guarantees of liberty secured by the 
constitution. The cabinets of Vienna, Florence, 
and Naples went so far as to intrude their advice 
on the king, and to insist that Sardinian institutions 
should be brought into conformity with those of 
the other states, for despotism abhors all contact 
with liberty. 

In c onsequence of a political alliance that he formed 
with Ratazzi, Cavour had to retire from office, and 
during the parliamentary recess again visited Eng- 
land and Scotland. While in London he made a 
midnight tour of inspection, under the guidance of 
a detective, through the lowest haunts of vice and 
crime in that metropolis, in order to make himself 
acquainted by personal observation with the actual 
condition of the lower classes. On his return to 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



27 



Paris he met Ratazzi by appointment, and the 
two statesmen had important interviews with the 
emperor, to whom they had the opportunity of 
representing the true condition of affairs in Sar- 
dinia, and of urging upon him the claims of Italy. 
On the resignation of Azeglio, Cavour became 
president of the council, and from this time to the 
period of his death, with the exception of a short 
interval, continued to hold the reins of government, 
and at once impressed a deeper character of nation- 
ality upon foreign policy. 

The Crimean war was the first event which opened 
the way to this more extended arena. Although 
the alliance of the two western powers of Europe 
originated in the necessity of checking the mena- 
cing preponderance of Russia in the East, Napoleon 
had another object in view, that of breaking the 
union of those governments which by the Treaty 
of Vienna had dishonoured France, and brought 
about the downfall of his dynasty. Cavour per- 
ceived at once the motives and bearings of the 
Anglo-French alliance ; he saw that Sardinia had a 
paramount interest in excluding Russia from the 
Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, the keys of the 
Mediterranean, and that the time had come when the 
Treaty of Vienna, the rock on which Italy had been 
wrecked, was about to be shivered into fragments. 
The treaty of alliance was signed, and an army 
greater than had even been stipulated was despatched 
to the Crimea. The day when the Sardinian troops 
withstood the first shock of the enemy at the 
battle of Tchernaya, and so bravely contributed 
to his defeat, was the dawn of Italian independence. 
There, in the far east, where once flourished the 
Italian colonies, Sardinia, by the side of the French 
and English armies, consecrated in the blood of 
her sons the right of leadership in the national 
cause, and won the recognition of that right from 
the allied powers. 

After the fall of Sevastopol Cavour accompanied 
the king on his visit to France and England. 
Everywhere received with marks of that regard 
secured to him by his high character and position, 
he availed himself of this opportunity to unite in 
closer ties of friendship the house of Savoy with 
the sovereigns of those countries, and to place 
before the representatives of public opinion the 
true aspect of affairs in Italy, as yet greatly 
misunderstood. 

Meanwhile the government of Vienna felt that 
a revolution was brooding, the more formidable 



because under the auspices of monarchical insti- 
tutions. That an insignificant state, which a few 
years since had been entirely under her control, 
and twice crushed beneath her iron heel, should 
dare to summon the Austrian empire before the 
bar of the civilized world, and to denounce it as 
the disturber of the public peace, and the violator 
of those very treaties by which it held its domin- 
ions, was more than the proud house of Hapsburg 
could bear. 

A brisk interchange of diplomatic notes between 
Vienna and Turin followed, in which the pedantry 
and the dullness of Count Buol were ill matched 
against the power and cutting irony of Cavour. 
At length the Austrian charge was recalled, and 
one fine morning it was whispered among the 
Turinese that Cavour had left for Plombieres. 

This visit to Napoleon had been planned and 
brought about by Cavour himself; and it was 
on this occasion that the preliminaries of the 
alliance between France and Sardinia was settled, 
and the marriage of the Princess Clotilde with 
Prince Napoleon determined on as the symbol 
and bond of the alliance. Whatever might have 
been at that time the opinion of Napoleon on the 
possibility of avoiding the conflict between Aus- 
tria and Sardinia, it is certain that Cavour consi- 
dered war as inevitable. The principles represented 
by the two countries were so opposed, and their 
estrangement was so complete, that from the first 
he saw that no compromise was possible, and that 
Italy must submit to Austrian rule, or be free from 
the Alps to the Adriatic. He, however, adhered 
to the terms of mediation which England sent to 
Vienna, and afterward to the proposal of a congress 
made by Russia, simply to prove to Europe that 
Italy was disposed to maintain peace, if by peace 
she could obtain satisfaction. 

The first indication of the approaching storm 
was the emperor's new year's greeting to Baron 
Hiibner, the Austrian ambassador at Paris. It was 
one of those theatrical displays that Napoleon 
delighted in, and almost a repetition of the first 
Napoleon's scene with Lord Whitworth, when he 
wished to break the peace with England. " I 
regret," said his Majesty to the astonished envoy, 
in the hearing of all the diplomatic circle, " I 
regret that our relations with your government 
are not as good as they have been heretofore; but 
I beg you to tell the emperor that my personal 
sentiments in regard to him have not changed." 



28 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



This startling language was followed by a speech 
from the throne to the Parliament at Turin, in 
which Victor Emmanuel announced that the poli- 
tical horizon was not entirely serene. Professing 
himself not insensible to the cry of anguish which 
reached him from all parts of Italy, he pledged him- 
self to march resolutely forward to meet the events 
of the future; "afuture" said he, " which could not 
but be prosperous, since the policy of my govern- 
ment rests on justice, love of country, and liberty, 
and on the sympathy which these ideas inspire." 
In the meantime, Cavour, holding a kind of dic- 
tatorship under the king, was vigorously urging 
on preparations for war. He replenished the trea- 
sury, increased the army, strengthened the fortifi- 
cations, reorganized the militia, and intrusted to 
Garibaldi the enlistment and command of the 
volunteers who from all parts of the peninsula 
were flocking to the national standard; while in 
his foreign policy he strove to secure the friend- 
ship, or at least the neutrality, of the European 
governments, and to cast upon the court of 
Vienna the responsibility of approaching hos- 
tilities. To the same end, on his return from 
Ploinbieres he had made a tour to Baden, to visit 
the regent of Prussia (now King William), and 
had granted to Russia the privilege of making 
Villafranca a coal depot and a harbour for her 
steamers; a concession intended both to gratify 
that power and to deal a blow to Austria, whose 
interests in the Mediterranean were thus counter- 
balanced by those of a rival empire. 

Although the war against Austria, says Count 
Arrivabene, had been decided upon by the emperor 
of the French, intelligence reached Cavour about 
the end of March, 1859, that a change had occurred 
in the imperial mind. On the 25 th of that month, 
therefore, the count went in all haste to Paris to 
judge for himself how matters stood. He found 
the emperor wavering, as was his wont on the eve of 
great enterprises, and as if he were almost afraid of 
engaging in the war he had promised to under- 
take for the independence of Italy. Indeed, after 
Ms first interview, Cavour thought that Napoleon 
was desirous of withdrawing from his solemn 
engagement; and he made up his mind to carry 
out the plan of his country's redemption by rousing 
all the revolutionary elements of Italy, and trust- 
ting to the strength of his cause and the valour 
of his countrymen. 

Baron Hiibner, the Austrian ambassador at 



Paris, had got scent of the change in Louis Napo- 
leon's mind, and desired Count Buol to adopt a tone 
of greater hostility, as he assured him that both 
the ruler of France and his ministers had decided 
on abandoning Sardinia to her fate. 

The advice of Baron Hiibner was so far accepted 
at Vienna, that Austrian indolence soon gave place 
to decision. However, though the Austrian repre- 
sentative was well informed at the beginning of 
the transaction, he was not so at its end. Italy 
had two powerful friends in Prince Napoleon and 
Count Persigny ; and Cavour, having had a second 
conversation with the emperor, succeeded in making 
him change his mind. It was then decided that 
the first pretext should be seized upon to declare 
war against Austria. Count Cavour returned to 
Turin completely victorious, while Baron Hiibner 
still thought that his adversary had failed in his 
negotiations. 

It was toward the middle of April, 1859, that 
Garibaldi was suddenly summoned to Turin by 
Count Cavour. The famous Italian leader was, as 
usual, in bad humour with the prime minister of 
the king. Distinguished by courage, disinterested- 
ness, and public spirit; bred to simple and daring 
occupations; endowed with an unbounded frank- 
ness — Garibaldi had no great liking for Cavour. 
He thought him too proud of his descent and 
of his intellectual superiority. In the opinion of 
this honest and fearless republican, Count Cavour 
bore a lively resemblance to those noblemen of 
the ancien regime who looked down with disdain 
on the common people, and governed them ac- 
cordingly. But the little sympathy he felt with 
Cavour did not prevent him from hastening to his 
summons. Garibaldi arrived at the palace of Piazza 
Castello at five o'clock in the morning. He was 
shown into the well-known red room, where he 
found himself in the presence of Victor Emmanuel, 
of his prime minister, and of Farini. 

" Well, general," said Cavour, " the long expected 
day is near at hand: we want you. The patience 
of Count Buol is nearly exhausted, and we are 
only awaiting the moment when he will have lost 
it altogether." 

" I am always ready to serve my country," re- 
plied Garibaldi, " and you know that I shall put 
all my heart into the work. Here in the presence 
of our Re galantuomo I must, however, be permitted 
to speak my mind openly. Am I to understand 
that you are going to summon all the forces of the 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



29 



country, and declaring war against Austria, to 
attack her with the irresistible power of a national 
insurrection?" 

" That is not precisely our plan," answered 
Count Cavour. " I have not an illimitable faith 
in the power of the insurrectionary element against 
the well-drilled legions of Austria. I think, more- 
over, our regular army too small to match the 
200,000 men our enemy has massed on the frontier. 
We must therefore have the assistance of a power- 
ful ally; and this is already secured. You will 
now," added the count, "fully understand the 
meaning of the words addressed by the French 
emperor to the Austrian ambassador on the 1st 
of January." 

" Although my principles are known both to 
you and to the king," Garibaldi is reported to 
have answered, " I feel that my first duty is that 
of offering my sword to my country. My war 
cry shall therefore be ' Italian unity, under the 
constitutional rule of Victor Emmanuel ! ' Mind, 
however, what you are about, and do not forget 
that the aid of foreign armies must always be paid 
for dearly. As for the man who has promised to 
help us, I ardently wish he may redeem himself in 
the eyes of posterity by achieving the noble task 
of ' Italian liberation.' " Garibaldi could not for- 
get the French expedition against Rome ten years 
before. At this moment the king, who always 
felt a deep regard for Garibaldi, took him by the 
hand, assured him that Louis Napoleon had always 
desired to see Italy free and happy, and added 
that he (the king) had consented to the marriage 
of his daughter with Prince Napoleon, because he 
was certain of the emperor's good intentions 
towards Italy. The campaign of Garibaldi and 
his Cacciatori delle Alpi, a corps of volunteers 
organized by General Cialdini, is not the least inter- 
esting part of this war. With scarcely 3000 men 
in the picturesque and mountainous scenery of 
Northern Italy, he baffled and defeated the man- 
oeuvres of the Austrian General Urban, who had 
10,000 regular soldiers under his command. 

It was while the preliminaries of a European con- 
gress were under discussion, that Francis Joseph 
suddenly broke off all negotiations and sent his 
ultimatum to Turin, requiring the government to 
•disarm immediately, on penalty of an invasion. 
Ten years had elapsed since Austria, by a prodi- 
gious effort, and by help of the skill and courage 
•of her army, had recovered from a state of prostra- 



tion that to many observers had seemed final 
and irremediable. In the revolution of 1848 her 
ancient and despotic government was assailed, 
not only as other German governments were, by 
political malcontents seeking reforms in domestic 
administration, but the animosities of race came in 
and threatened the heterogeneous dominion of the 
Kaiser with absolute dissolution. 

On the first tumultuous outbreak in Vienna in 
March, 1848, the universal cry was for the liberty 
of the press, religious liberty, universal education, 
a general arming of the people, a constitution, and 
the unity of Germany. " Long live free and inde- 
pendent Germany !" " Long live the Italians in 
arms!" " Long live the Magyars !" " Long live 
the patriots of Prague !" Such were the cries which 
rose from the crowd, and were no sooner heard 
than they were frantically cheered. Though the 
insurgents were for the most part cultured men, 
students from the university and professors, Prince 
Metternich was subjected to personal outrage; and 
having resigned his office, he retreated into England. 
The insurrection conquered the government at 
Vienna, at Presburg, and at Prague. The Mag- 
yars of Hungary, under the leadership of Kossuth, 
and the Tchecks of Bohemia, endeavoured to 
secure the independence of their several countries, 
retaining the emperor of Austria as their nominal 
king. The Tchecks, being of Sclavonic race, 
sought a union of all the Sclaves of Europe, 
including the inhabitants of Croatia, Sclavonia, 
Servia, Bohemia, Moravia, Livonia, and Gallicia, 
and looked ultimately to the czar of Kussia as 
their chief. Panslavism, however, was a doctrine 
that was not sustained by any practical or vital 
force. A violent revolt of the people took place 
at Prague, where the governor's wife, the Princess 
Windischgratz, was killed in a cowardly manner as 
she stood at a window, by a shot fired from the crowd, 
and soon after the town was bombarded into sub- 
mission. The proud, aristocratic Magyars, on their 
side, demanded the elimination of every German 
element from the administration of Hungary, and 
the concession of self-government to their race. 
The emperor yielded so far as to grant a constitu- 
tion, by which Hungary, Transylvania, and Croatia 
were erected into a separate kingdom, having its 
own ministers, legislature, taxes, its own army and 
civil and municipal government. Other parts of 
the empire participated in the benefits of like con- 
cessions. But a reaction soon commenced. The 



30 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



four or five million Magyars wished to be themselves 
free from German control, hut they grudged theposi- 
tion of equality granted to their ruder neighbours, 
the Croats. United by the Hungarian constitution 
with that kingdom, the Croatians, Sclavonians by 
descent, perceived only a fatal deterioration of 
their position in the predominance of the Magyar 
magnates and race in the National Assembly at 
Pesth. The ancient hatred of Sclavonian to 
Magyar broke forth with unextinguishable fury 
at this prospect. Too weak to contend, either 
in the field or the Assembly, with the Hunga- 
rian power, the Croatians saw no prospect of pro- 
tection but in the German race and the shield 
of the emperor. " The emperor, and the unity 
of the empire," became in this manner the war- 
cry of the Croatians, as that of " the unity and 
independence of Hungary " was of the Magyars. 
No sooner, accordingly, did it distinctly appear 
what turn affairs were taking, and the pretensions of 
the Magyars were openly declared, than a deputation 
from Croatia set out for Vienna, to lay before the 
emperor the assurances of their devotion and the 
expression of their apprehensions. They were 
willing to spend the last drop of their blood in 
behalf of the imperial crown, and to preserve the 
integrity of the empire; but they could not hope 
for success unless he placed at their head a chief 
in whom they had confidence. Jellachich alone 
was this man. The deputation met with the most 
favourable reception ; mutual confidence was at 
once established from the perception of common 
danger. Jellachich was immediately elevated 
to the rank of Ban, or governor of Croatia, and 
shortly afterwards created field-marshal, council- 
lor of the empire, colonel- commandant of two 
regiments, and commander-in-chief of the provinces 
of Bannat, Warasdin, and Carlsbadt, in the 
Illyrian districts. 

The emperor now fled from Vienna to the 
Tyrol, and thence issued a proclamation con- 
demning the violence of his German and Hunga- 
rian subjects. The Croats, on their side, publicly 
declared that they would never consent to the 
separation of Hungary from the imperial crown, 
and prepared to support their declaration by force 
of arms, averring that they would prefer the knout 
of the Russians to the insolence of the Magyar. 
The bitterness of feeling between the opposing 
parties found expression at a conference which 
took place at Vienna on the 29th of July. M. 



Bach, the minister of justice, and Baron Jellachich, 
supported it, on the one side ; Count Louis Bathiany 
and Prince Esterhazy, on the other. It began in 
a solemn manner, and with measured expressions 
on both sides ; but ere long the intensity of feeling 
broke through their courtly restraints, and the 
debate became animated and violent in the highest 
degree. " Between the cabinets of Pesth and 
Vienna," said Count Bathiany, " there is now an 
insurmountable barrier." ' : Which you have raised 
up yourselves," replied Bach. Take care, count, 
there is behind that barrier on your side an abyss, 
the name of which is Revolution." " And who 
has dug that abyss?" " You know better than we 
do; ask Kossuth. Meanwhile, I will tell you what 
will fill it up, oceans of blood, thousands of corpses; 
perhaps your own, count." Before separating, 
Count Bathiany approached Jellachich, and taking 
him by the hand, said, " For the last time, do you 
wish peace or war?" " We wish for peace," replied 
the Ban, " if the Magyars, better inspired than they 
now are, are willing to render to Caesar what be- 
longs to Caesar, and to Austria what belongs to 
Austria ; but if they persist in wishing to shiver to 
pieces the fundamental laws of the empire, then 
we are for war." "May God protect the right," 
replied Bathiany ; " the sabre must now decide 
betwixt us. Adieu, baron; I assign a rendezvous 
on the banks of the Drave." " We shall meet be- 
fore on those of the Danube," replied Jellachich ; and 
he was as good as his word. With these words 
they separated, and both sides prepared for war. 

Taking advantage of this national animosity, 
and acting upon their old maxim, Divide et impera, 
the Austrian government set about reducing Hun- 
gary to submission by means of Jellachich and his 
Croats. The ultimatum they sent to Pesth was 
that the ministries of war, finance, and foreign 
affairs in Hungary should be united to those of 
Vienna, and that an entire community of right 
should be established between all the inhabitants 
of Austria and Hungary, be they Magyars, Ger- 
mans, Croats, Slovaks, or Servians. The last 
clause was especially distasteful to the proud 
Magyar. Hostilities were precipitated by the 
barbarous murder of Count Lamberg on the 
bridge at Pesth, where he was attacked by an 
infuriated mob as he was on his way to the Diet 
to present the emperor's rescripts. The fear of 
being deprived of their newly-recovered nation- 
ality, and of being again absorbed in the despotism 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



31 



of Austria, maddened the populace. The war in 
Hungary had scarce begun when a fresh revo- 
lution, aided by a mutiny of the soldiers, broke 
out in Vienna, resulting in fearful carnage, and the 
murder of Count Latour, the minister of war. The 
emperor again fled from his capital (October 7, 
1848), which was left in the hands of the insur- 
gents until the arrival of Jellachich from Hungary, 
and Windischgratz from Bohemia, each with an 
army, turned the scale against them. The barri- 
cades were stormed, and after a stubborn resistance 
carried with great slaughter. The town was set 
on fire in six and twenty different places, and the 
rebels, with their leader, the Polish General Bern, 
capitulated. While the terms of capitulation were 
being carried out, however, an army of Hungarians 
was seen approaching the city to assist the insur- 
gents; and all the tumultuous excitement began 
again, to be rigorously and finally suppressed with 
fire and sword. Though the imperial authority 
was thus far restored, the burden of government 
was too heavy for the Emperor Ferdinand to bear. 
On the 2nd December, at Olmutz, he abdicated 
the throne in favour of Francis Joseph, then 
eighteen years of age, and the son of Francis Carl, 
the emperor's brother, who also renounced his 
right to the crown. In his first proclamation the 
young emperor boasted that " Austria had crushed 
the rebellion in Lombardy, driven back the Pied- 
montese into their own territory, planted the 
Austrian flag again in triumph on the walls of 
Milan, which had for centuries been a fief of the 
house of Hapsburg." In Hungary, too, he added, 
" the imperial arms have been uniformly success- 
ful, and there is every reason to expect a victorious 
issue to the campaign." Much had to be done 
before that expectation was fulfilled. Kossuth, 
the president of Hungary, Bern, Dembinski, 
Georgey, Klapka, and other military leaders, with 
their brave troops, taxed all the energies of the 
veteran Windischgratz, who strove manfully to 
restore imperial authority in the rebellious king- 
dom. At length General Piickner being in a 
strait solicited the aid of the Russian General 
Luders, who at once sent troops across the fron- 
tier from Wallachia, where he was stationed. 
This happened in the month of February, 1849, 
yet in April the Hungarians recovered possession 
of their capital Pesth, and threatened the safety 
of Vienna itself. On the 14th of April Kossuth 
issued the proclamation of Hungarian independ- 



ence, to the great displeasure of Georgey and the 
Magyar aristocratic party, who desired to maintain 
the union with Austria. Russian aid was once 
more invoked by the Kaiser, and the Emperor 
Nicholas, hating democracy and uneasy about 
Poland, was only too glad to assist in crushing 
the independence of such dangerous neighbours 
as the Magyar republicans, while he laid an 
onerous obligation upon the emperor of Austria. 

Unfortunately for the Hungarian cause, General 
Georgey had an invincible repugnance to Kossuth 
and his schemes for independence, and was as a 
matter of course not trusted by him with the 
command of all the troops. This division in 
the camp proved a more potent auxiliary to 
the Austrians than even the Muscovite bayonets. 
After several bloody battles, in which prodigies of 
valour were performed, the cause of the Magyars 
was by the month of August rendered utterly 
desperate. Kossuth's eloquent proclamation of 
that date well expresses the condition into which 
they had fallen : — 

" After several unfortunate battles, in which 
God, in the latter days, has proved the Hungarian 
nation, we have no longer any hope of continuing 
with success our defensive struggles against the 
considerable forces of the Austrians and Russians. 
In this state of affairs, the safety of the nation 
and the security for its future have come to 
depend entirely on the general who is at the head 
of the army; and I am profoundly convinced that 
the prolonged existence of the present government 
would not only be useless to the nation, but might 
be attended with serious evils. I make known to 
the nation, as well in the name of myself as of the 
entire ministry, that, animated by the same senti- 
ments which have guided all my steps, and induced 
the sacrifice of my entire existence to the good 
of our country, I retire from the government, and 
invest with supreme military and civil power the 
general, Arthur Georgey, until the nation, in the 
exercise of its rights, sees fit to dispose of it other- 
wise. May he love his fatherland as disinterestedly 
as I have done, and may he be more fortunate 
than I have been in securing the prosperity of the 
nation ! I can no longer be of use to the country 
by my actions ; if my death can be of any service to 
it, I willingly give it the sacrifice of my life. May 
the God of justice and mercy be with the nation! 
" KOSSUTH. 

"Dated, Foktkess of Aead, August 11, 1849." 



32 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



This transfer of authority was effected in the 
hope that Georgey would obtain better terms from 
the Kussians than the democrat leader was likely 
to do. On the 13th of August the Hungarian 
army, 28,000 strong, laid down their arms, and 
Georgey surrendered to Count Eudiger. Austria 
once more swayed the country, and glutted her 
vengeance by the death of many of the brave 
Magyar officers on the scaffold. They were in 
some sort avenged by the acrimonious feelings 
that arose between the conquerors, the Austrians 
and Eussians, each of whom affected to ignore the 
services of the other during the campaign. The 
sore feeling that arose from this unlucky alliance 
engendered a covert enmity that did effective mis- 
chief to Eussia during the Crimean war, and of 
which the world may possibly yet see bitter fruit. 

Austria had barely passed ten years' breathing 
time when Eussia had the grim satisfaction of seeing 
her exposed to a violent and unjustifiable attack 
from France. By the joint action of French and 
Italian diplomacy matters were so contrived that 
Austria was led to take the first warlike step ; and 
in the hope of repeating Eadetzky's Novara cam- 
paign, her army crossed the Ticino into Piedmontese 
territory on the 26th of April, 1859. This was 
made the ostensible ground of French interference, 
and on the 3rd of May Napoleon III. issued a pro- 
clamation declaring war against Austria. It was 
in this proclamation that he charged the Austrian 
government with having brought things to that 
extremity "that either she must rule right up to 
the Alps, or Italy must be free as far as the Adriatic." 
" The end of this war," he continued, "is to restore 
Italy to herself, not to give her a change of masters ; 
and we shall have on our frontiers a friendly people 
who will owe to us their independence." 

The French emperor did feel, nevertheless, the 
sting of certain expressions in the manifesto of 
Francis Joseph, that seemed aimed at the Bona- 
partist policy. " When the shadows of revolution," 
said the Kaiser, " which imperil the most precious 
gifts of humanity, threatened the whole of Europe, 
Providence made use of the sword of Austria to 
dissipate those shadows. We are again on the eve 
of one of those epochs, in which doctrines subversive 
of all order are preached, not only by sectarians, 
but are hurled upon the world from the height of 
thrones.'" This was the voice of a champion of 
legitimacy challenging the monarch who reigned 
by the will of the nation, and who represented in 



some sort the principles of the Eevolution of 1789. 
The emperor quitted the Tuileries on the 10th of 
May to join his army, which had entered Piedmont 
by Mont Cenis, the Col de Genevre, and by Genoa, 
and established his head-quarters at Alessandria. 
The first engagement took place at Montebello on 
the 20th of May, and on the 4th of June occurred 
the general action of Magenta, in which the 
Austrians were defeated by General MacMahon, 
who won the title of duke and the baton of a field- 
marshal. The emperor had directed the previous 
movements of the army, and in order to signalize 
his mastery of the art of war had placed the French 
army in a position that a prompt and skilful enemy 
might have used to his ruin — a movement not 
unlike that which has led to the disaster of Sedan. 
To avoid making a direct attack on Giulay's two 
strongest positions at Pavia and Piacenza, the 
Austrian left, Napoleon led the whole of his army 
against the enemy's right at Buffalora, on the upper 
Ticino ; his object being to make the Austrians 
abandon their positions and accept battle on ground 
that was not of their own choice. The danger of 
this movement, which began on the 28th of May 
and was not completed till the 2nd of June, was 
extreme, as it was performed at a very short distance 
from the enemy, who, with but a small display of 
alertness, might have attacked the French on their 
march and destroyed them in detail. The victory 
of Magenta followed by that of Melcgnano dislodged 
the Austrians from Milanese territory; and on the 
9th of June Napoleon and Victor Emmanuel made 
their solemn entry into Milan. The emperor, in 
an address to the Milanese, defended himself from 
the charge of personal ambition. "If there are 
men," said he, " who do not understand their epoch, 
I am not of the number. In the enlightened state 
of public opinion, a man is greater nowadays by 
the moral influence he exercises than by sterile 
conquests ; and this moral influence I seek, proud to 
aid in giving Hberty to one of the most beautiful 
parts of Europe." The master of legions was also 
a great master of phrases. But the war was not 
over, and the decisive battle of the campaign was 
fought on ground that had long been con- 
secrated to war. The Austrian General Giulay 
having proved his incompetence at Magenta, the 
young Kaiser himself assumed the command of the 
army, with General Hess for his right hand. The 
army of Germans had retired to Mantua and Verona, 
and the French emperor with Iris marshals, together 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



with Victor Emmanuel and the Sardinian army, 
went marching on secure in the thought that their 
antagonists were on the other side the Mincio, when 
suddenly they found themselves opposed by 140,000 
armed men. On the 23rd of June General Hess 
had caused this vast army to sally out from the 
Quadrilateral, and re-occupy positions which they 
had but partially abandoned three days before. 
Though uninformed as to the exact whereabouts 
of his enemy, the general had formed a skilful plan 
to be executed on the battlefield, near Castiglione, 
where Prince Eugene in Marlborough's day, and 
Napoleon I. more recently, had severally exhibited 
their military genius. The Austrians occupied a 
space of hilly ground ahnost in the form of a paral- 
lelogram about twelve miles long and nine wide, 
the centre of which was Cavriana, where Francis 
Joseph established his headquarters. The key of 
the position was the village of Solferino, which 
stands on an eminence commanding a most exten- 
sive view of the country. From the summit of a 
tower in this village, named the " watch-tower of 
Italy," the eye embraces an extent of country 
reaching from the Alps to the Apennines. Man- 
tua, Verona, Ceresara, Bozzolo, Cremona, and 
the broad plain beside it are distinctly visible. 
The Lake of Garda, the bluest and most trans- 
parent sheet of water in the Italian peninsula, 
appears on the edge of the farthest slope of hills 
stretching away into the heart of the Tyrolese 
Alps. The battle to which this village has given 
a name, identified as it is with the liberation of 
Italy from the Austrian yoke, merits a brief notice. 
The French troops began their forward movement 
before dawn on Midsummer day, and by five 
o'clock had commenced a battle which lasted alto- 
gether sixteen hours. When Napoleon arrived at 
Castiglione, ascending the steeple of St. Peter's 
church, he surveyed the whole ground, being 
directed by the smoke of the guns to the move- 
ments of the different corps. To the left Baraguay 
d'Hilliers was encountering a tremendous artillery 
fire from the enemy, while MacMahon was advan- 
cing towards him through the fields bordering the 
Mantua road. The several French corps had been 
marching too widely apart, and the Austrians had 
very nearly succeeded in separating them one from 
the other. General Niel was in such expectation 
of being outflanked by the enemy, that he sent 
word to Canrobert that it was impossible to afford 
him any support until their respective corps had 



effected a junction. As the battle proceeded, the 
hill of Solferino became the object of the severest 
contest. Regiment after regiment was driven 
back by the Austrians, under Stadion, with 
fearful loss to the French as they ascended the 
slopes, but at length the mount was occupied and 
the Austrian artillery captured. The Tower Hill, 
still higher up, continued to be most vigorously 
defended. At length General Forey gave orders 
to storm the steep ascent. The drums beat, the 
trumpets sounded; shouts of "Vive l'Empereur" 
rent the air; voltigeurs of the imperial guard, 
chasseurs, and battalions of the line, rushed to the 
assault with an impetuosity that the Austrians 
could not withstand. The heights were covered 
in a moment by thousands of French troops, and 
the tower of Solferino was won. Leboeuf brought 
his artillery to bear on the retreating regiments, but 
the battle still raged furiously along the extensive 
field. The Sardinians and their king at San Martino 
had a fierce struggle with his terrible antagonist, 
Benedek, and 20,000 Austrians. About four o'clock 
in the afternoon the Algerian sharpshooters and 
the voltigeurs of the guard, after a hand to hand 
fight with the prince of Hesse's division, carried 
Cavriana, the Kaiser's headquarters, and a general 
retreat of the Austrians became inevitable. Two 
hours afterwards the house which had been the 
temporary dwelling of Francis Joseph opened its 
doors to receive the rival emperor. When the 
retreat began the scene of battle was visited by 
a fearful tempest — one of those summer storms 
which envelope in a whirlwind of rain and fire 
the region they fall on. Dark clouds hung over, 
and thunder and lightning rivalled with their ele- 
mental horror the glare and clamour of the contend- 
ing artillery below. When the storm abated, the 
French resumed the offensive, and Canrobert, who 
had been inactive all day, came to continue, in the 
plain below Cavriana,the conflict that had been car- 
ried on with so much stubborn valour all day upon 
the hills. Night came at last to close the dreadful 
scene, the Austrians retiring in good order, and 
with a feeling that though they had been defeated, 
the French had paid dearly for their victory. The 
Austrians retired beyond the Adige, and after a 
short week's pause the French army followed 
them, crossing the Mincio on the 30th of June. 
Another battle seemed at hand, which, as the 
Italians hoped, would drive their German masters 
out of the country, and liberate the peninsula from 



34 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



the Alps to the Adriatic. But the Emperor 
Napoleon had a surprise in store for them. Two 
days after the battle of Solferino, Count Cavour 
and his secretary Nigra had a long interview with 
the emperor, whom they found very proud of the 
achievements of his army and its triumphs over 
the Austrians, but much disgusted with the quar- 
rels of his generals, and deeply impressed with the 
horrible nature of the scenes he had for the first time 
witnessed on the battlefield. They were made to 
understand, however, that the war would proceed, 
and that his Majesty was lending a favourable ear 
to the requests of the Hungarian refugees, who 
demanded help for the liberation of their country 
from Austrian domination. 

But there was work enough yet in Italy if the 
formidable fortresses of the Quadrilateral were to 
be taken. On the 7th of May the French were 
ranged about Valeggio in strong military array 
in expectation of a general engagement, which it 
was thought the enemy was not unwilling to com- 
mence, when General Floury returned from a secret 
mission on which he had been sent to Verona. 
This was no less than a proposal for peace, 
which Napoleon, in his mysterious, theatrical way, 
had sent the night before to the Emperor Francis 
Joseph, without saying a word to his ally Victor 
Emmanuel, or to any of his marshals save Vaillant. 
He had soon tired of the war, and probably began 
to feel that he might do too much for Sardinia, 
which now showed signs of absorbing all Italy, 
and that a show of generosity to Austria might 
secure him a powerful friend in the person of a 
legitimate emperor, to say nothing of hints and 
rumours that Prussia might interfere. So, as his 
biographer says, "by a sudden inspiration, he 
resolved to propose an armistice in the middle 
of his victorious army's march. The conqueror 
asks for peace, what grandeur ! moderation in vic- 
tory is so rare." The Kaiser was taken so much 
by surprise, that he suspected a snare, and deferred 
his answer to Napoleon's letter, which he received 
on the 6th July, till the morrow. An interview 
was agreed upon, and the two sovereigns met on 
the 11th at Villafranca, a village half-way between 
Solferino and Verona. It was arranged with all 
those accessories that the French know so well 
how to employ, in order to produce a dramatic 
effect. Napoleon rode at the head of his troops 
until he saw Francis Joseph approaching at the 
head of his escort, when he galloped forward 



alone to meet him, and the two emperors having 
shaken hands, dismounted, entered the house of 
a M. Morelli, in Villafranca, and in a conversa- 
tion of nearly two hours, settled the preliminaries 
of the peace of Villafranca, which were ratified 
subsequently by the treaty of Zurich. These 
preliminaries consisted of seven clauses: — 1. The 
two sovereigns are favourable to the creation of 
an Italian confederation. 2. This confederation 
shall be under the honorary presidency of the 
Holy Father. 3. The emperor of Austria cedes 
to the emperor of the French his rights over 
Lombardy, with the exception of the fortresses of 
Mantua and Peschiera, in such a manner as that 
the frontier of the Austrian possessions shall start 
from the farthest radius of the fortress of Peschiera, 
and extend in a straight line along the Mincio as 
far as Grazia; from thence to Scarzarola and Suzana 
to the Po, whence the existing frontier line shall 
continue to form the borders of Austria. The 
emperor of the French will transfer the ceded 
territory to the king of Sardinia. 4. Venetia 
shall form part of the Italian confederation while 
remaining under the crown of the emperor of 
Austria. 5. The grand duke of Tuscany and 
the duke of Modena shall re-enter their states on 
granting a general amnesty. 6. The two emperors 
will request the Holy Father to introduce the 
reforms that are indispensable in his states. 7. 
A full and complete amnesty is granted on both 
sides to all persons compromised by recent events 
in the territories of the belligerents. 

What a falling off was here from the mighty 
plan on which the Italians had built their lofty and 
sanguine hopes ! Deep and bitter was the dis- 
appointment to them. The people felt that the 
dignity of their honest king, and of the whole 
nation, had been lowered, and their most cherished 
ambitions thwarted. Victor Emmanuel bore 
himself with the composure of a king, and coldly 
thanked Louis Napoleon for the service he had 
rendered to Italy. To Cavour the news of the 
peace was a crushing blow. He seemed, says 
Professor Botta, to feel the concentrated bitterness 
of the nation. The cry of anguish which arose 
from the Italians fell upon his heart like a reproach, 
and the blood of those who had fallen on the 
plains of Lombardy cried to him from the ground. 
The very darkness in which he was left as to the 
motives of that sudden interview made him suspect 
that he and his country had been betrayed. For 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



35 



a time lie lost his usual self-control, and in a stormy 
interview with his royal master, declined to see 
the emperor, urged the king to reject the terms of 
peace, to recall his army, and to leave Napoleon 
to his designs. His advice not being accepted, he 
resigned office, and retired to his country seat at 
Leri, feeling that the destinies of Italy had been 
transferred from the hands of men of action to 
those of diplomatists with whom he knew himself 
to be in bad odour. The whole story and its 
moral are well summed up in a simple poem by 
Mrs. Barrett Browning, entitled " A Tale of Villa- 
franca:" — 

My little son, my Florentine, 

Sit down beside my knee, 
And I will tell you why the sign 

Of joy which flushed our Italy 
Has faded since but yesternight; 
And why your Florence of delight 

Is mourning as you see. 

A great man (who was crowned one day) 

Imagined a great deed : 
He shaped it out of cloud and clay; 

He touched it finely till the seed 
Possessed the flower: from heart and brain 
He fed it with large thoughts humane, 

To help a people's need. 

He brought it out into the sun — 

They blessed it to his face : 
" Oh, great pure deed, that hast undone 

So many bad and base ! 
generous deed, heroic deed, 
Come forth, be perfected, succeed, 

Deliver by God's grace ! " 

Then sovereigns, statesmen, north and south, 

Rose up in wrath and fear, 
And cried, protesting by one mouth, 

What monster have we here ? 
A great deed at this hour of day ? 
A great just deed, and not for pay ? 

Absurd or insincere ! 

" And if sincere, the heavier blow 

In that case we shall bear ; 
For where's our blessed status quo, 

Our holy treaties, where 
Our rights to sell a race, or buy, 
Protect and pillage, occupy, 

And civilize despair?" 

Some muttered that the great deed meant 

A great pretest to sin ; 
And others, the pretext, so lent, 

Was heinous (to begin). 
Volcanic terms of great and just? 
Admit such tongues of flame, the crust 

Of time and law falls in. 

A great deed in this world of ours 

Unheard of the pretence is : 
It threatens plainly the great powers ; 

Is fatal in all senses. 
A great just deed in the world ? — call out 
The rifles ! be not slack about 

The national defences. 

And many murmured, " From this source 

What red blood must be poured ! " 
And some rejoined, "Tis even worse; 

What red tape is ignored!" 



All cursed the doer for an evil, 
Called here, enlarging on the devil, 
There, monkeying the Lord. 

Some said, it could not be explained ; 

Some, could not be excused ; 
And others, " Leave it unrestrained, 

Gehenna's self is loosed." 
And all cried, '* Crush it, maim it, gag it ! 
Set dog-toothed lies to tear it ragged, 

Truncated, and traduced!" 

But he stood sad before the sun: 

(The peoples felt their fate). 
" The world is many, I am one ; 

My great deed was too great. 
God's fruit of justice ripens slow ; 
Men's souls are narrow; let them grow. 

My brothers, we must wait." 

The tale is ended, child of mine, 

Turned graver at my knee. 
They say your eyes, my Florentine, 

Are English : it may be : 
And yet I've marked as blue a pair 
Following the doves across the square, 

At Venice by the sea. 

Ah child, ah child ! I cannot say 

A word more. You conceive 
The reason now why just to-day 

We see our Florence grieve. 
Ah child, look up into the sky ! 
In this low world, where great deeds die, 

What matter if we live? 

The most humiliating part of the transaction to 
Sardinia was the sacrifice it had to make to France, 
in compliance with a secret treaty, of its ancient 
possessions, Savoy and Nice, given by vote of the 
population, be it said, to its powerful friend, as 
a " compensation and for the rectification of his 
frontier." On the other hand a secret stipulation 
made by Napoleon at Villafranca was of immense 
service to Italy, inaugurating as it did the great 
principle of popular sovereignty. It was to the 
effect that no coercion should be employed to 
enforce the offensive terms of the treaty there 
agreed upon, a proviso that came to be the keystone 
of Italian nationality. The provinces which had 
been freed from their petty tyrants were, said the 
letter of the treaty, to be restored to them ; but the 
restoration of the runaway dukes and duchesses, 
and the re-establishment of his Holiness's authority 
over the Legations, were only to take place with 
the concurrence of the populations, uninfluenced by 
the armed force of foreign powers. The Italians, 
in fact, for the first time since the middle ages, 
were really left to themselves. Alarmed at the 
outbreak of the war, and the accompanying mani- 
festations of popular feeling, the smaller sovereigns 
had fled to the protecting wing of Austria. The 
government of their states then devolved upon the 
Constitutional Assemblies, who acted with promp- 



36 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



titude and vigour. In Modena and Parma a dic- 
tator was appointed in the person of Farini, while 
the Tuscans conferred similar authority on Baron 
Ricasoli, a noble of the antique Koman type. The 
Legations, which had cut themselves free from 
the papal dominion, acted under the directions of 
Cipriani. With these men Cavour kept up continual 
communication, for though no longer minister, 
he was the recognized leader of the national move- 
ment. When he discovered that non-intervention 
was the principle of the Zurich treaty, he felt that 
Italy would be able after all to achieve unity and 
consolidation, spite of Napoleon's schemes for a 
confederation. The people of the Tuscan and 
^Emihan provinces positively refused to receive 
back their princes, notwithstanding the urgent 
entreaties of the emperor of the French, and 
declined every plan of adjustment save that of 
annexation to Sardinia. At this juncture, in 
the spring of 1860, Cavour was recalled to power, 
and having previously mapped out the central 
provinces into electoral districts, he appealed to the 
inhabitants to elect representatives who should take 
their seats in the Parliament of Italy. This was 
done, and the northern part of the peninsula was 
united under Victor Emmanuel, the constitutional 
king of Italy. Well might the king, in addressing 
the new Parliament, congratulate the country that 
" Italy was no longer the Italy of municipal govern- 
ments, or that of the middle ages, but the Italy of 
the Italians." Attended by his minister, he went 
to visit the new dominions, which not the sword, 
says Signor Botta, but the hearts of the people, 
had bestowed upon him. The enthusiasm with 
which the visitors were received in the ncw T pro- 
vinces exceeds description. For the first time the 
sentiment which before had been so long restrained 
by the boundaries of cities and states overleaped all 
barriers, and was merged in the deep emotion of 
patriotism; all traces of ancient feuds vanished; 
the once' rival cities emulated each other in then- 
expressions of mutual affection. Genoa restored 
to Pisa the chains of her harbour, which seized 
centuries before, had been retained as a trophy ; the 
sword bequeathed in the fourteenth century by 
Castruccio Castracanito him who should deliver the 
country, was presented to Victor Emmanuel, and 
Niccolini, the venerable poet, carried to the king 
with tottering steps his master-piece, the " Arnaldo 
de Brescia," blessing the "kind fate that had 
allowed him, before his eyes closed on the sweet 



air of Italy, to see the aspiration of his life accom- 
plished." 

But another act of the great drama now opens, 
another hero appears on the stage — Guiseppe 
Garibaldi. AVe search in vain the archives of 
history for heroic deeds and marvellous achieve- 
ments like those which, at the time here spoken 
of, sent a thrill of admiration and joy through the 
hearts of all the friends of liberty. For this, 
says Sig. Botta, we must go back to the legendary 
ages, when the gods mingled with men, the ages 
of Hercules and Theseus, of Odin and Thor. 
When centuries shall have passed, and Italy 
shall again have reached the summit of her 
greatness, the memory of the great chieftain will 
be embellished by popular imagination, and the 
name of Garibaldi will be invested with a mythical 
glory surpassing that of the Cid in Spain, and Joan 
of Arc in France. On the 11th of May, 1860, 
Garibaldi, at the head of one thousand patriots, 
landed at Marsala. He came, he saw, he con- 
quered. Within less than four months he had 
delivered ten millions of Italians from the hated 
yoke of the Bourbons. For a work like that 
which Garibaldi had accomplished Cavour had no 
power. A statesman far removed from revolutionary 
impulses, his genius consisted rather in directing 
events than forcing them. Believing in the ulti- 
mate union of the nations, his original plan had 
been the consolidation of northern Italy into one 
kingdom, which should gradually absorb the entire 
peninsula. But the peace of Villafranca having 
defeated that design, his next object became the 
annexation of central Italy. The instinct of the 
people, however, outstripped this process of gradual 
absorption, and hastened to precipitate the imme- 
diate union of the whole country. Of this instinct 
Garibaldi was the great representative. Essentially 
a man of the masses, sharing their virtues as well 
as their faults, with the heart of a Hon in the frame 
of an athlete, trained amidst the tempests of the 
ocean, and on the battlefields of the old and new 
worlds, and burning with the fire of liberty and 
patriotism, the hero of Caprera became the leader 
of the national movement at the time when it 
began to assume a more revolutionary character. 

This was the most embarrassing period of the 
political career of Cavour. On one hand it was im- 
possible for Sardinia openly to take part in the expe- 
ditions of Garibaldi, directed against the king of the 
Two Sicilies, still on his throne, and with whom 



THE FRANCO-PKUSSIAN WAR. 



37 



Victor Emmanuel held neutral, if not friendly rela- 
tions. Such a step would prohably have induced 
Austria again to take the field, and in the face 
of such a flagrant violation of international law, 
France would have been unable to protect the 
country from an armed intervention. On the 
other hand, that movement could not be prevented 
without seriously endangering the national cause. 
The idea of political unity had taken such deep 
hold on the public mind, that any attempt to 
check its development would have resulted in 
revolution. Again, the court of Rome was gathering 
the papist mercenaries of Europe to its support, 
and having secured the services of General Lamor- 
iciere, it threatened the new kingdom with an alli- 
ance with Francis 11., openly supported by Austria 
and other powers. In this emergency Garibaldi 
appeared, and organized his expeditions for the 
deliverance of Southern Italy. Although his suc- 
cess might be doubtful, his bold attempt would 
spread terror among the enemy, divide the forces 
of Naples and Rome, and drive them from their 
threatening attitude. So, without either encour- 
aging or preventing the departure of Garibaldi, 
Cavour awaited events, ready to avail himself of all 
the advantages which might result from the daring 
enterprise, or to avert any danger which it might 
provoke. This policy evinced scarcely less bold- 
ness than the achievements of the dashing leader 
himself. The principle of national rights over 
dynastic interests was regarded as so heretical by 
the cabinets of Europe, that it was mainly due 
to the skill of Cavour that their opposition on 
this occasion was confined to protest. By appeal- 
ing to their conservative tendencies, and by 
representing that an effort to put down the 
movement by force of arms would cause a revolu- 
tion throughout the peninsula, and endanger the 
existence of monarchical institutions, he saved 
the expeditions from an armed intervention. But 
when success appeared certain, Cavour changed 
his policy of inaction to one of active sympathy, 
and not only allowed volunteers to depart from 
the ports of the state, and subscriptions for their 
aid to be widely circulated, but he himself afforded 
the enterprise direct assistance. Before the war 
of 1859, Sardinia had proposed an alliance with 
the king of Napiles on condition of his granting 
a constitution to his people and joining in the 
war against Austria. Hitherto he had resisted all 
advances. But now that Garibaldi, having pos- 



sessed himself of Sicily, was knocking at the gates 
of Naples, Francis II. hastened to accede to those 
terms, and proposed to share with Sardinia the 
pontifical dominions. But it was too late. Since 
the war had commenced such changes had occurred 
in the peninsula, that Cavour in turn declined 
the proposed alliance; and as England, France, and 
Russia urged upon him its acceptance, he wisely 
insisted on delaying all negotiations on the subject 
until that sovereign should rjrove himself able to 
maintain his throne; and in the meantime claimed 
as a preliminary that he should recognize the inde- 
pendence of Sicily. But Garibaldi left no time for 
decision; he at once made his triumphant entry 
into Naples, while the fugitive king took refuge 
in Gaeta. 

Between Cavour and Garibaldi, as has been 
already said, there existed great differences of 
character, which are pointed out with admirable 
discrimination by Signor Botta. The one was 
endowed with comprehensive genius, with a clear, 
keen intellect, that neither imagination nor impulse 
could seduce; affluent, aristocratic, reserved, often 
satirical and imperious, unyielding in his opinions, 
with power to bend the convictions of others to his 
own; too confident in himself to court popular 
favour, and devoted to labours more calculated 
to excite the admiration of the thoughtful than to 
dazzle the multitude. The other, of more limited 
capacity, but of wider sympathies, was ruled by 
imagination and impulse; disposed to regard all 
questions from a single point of view; democratic 
by birth and principles, of Spartan simplicity of 
life and manners, despising rank and wealth ; kind, 
straightforward, easily influenced by all who ap- 
proached him in the name of patriotism, and from 
his wonderful success as well as from his rare 
personal qualities, the idol of the masses. 

Both true patriots, both equally courageous and 
energetic, while the one exerted his genius in diplo- 
matic strategy, the other was engaged in irregular 
warfare. Both equally ambitious to serve their 
country, while one accepted the honours bestowed 
on him, the other disclaimed all distinctions, but 
delighted to appear in public in his worn red shirt. 
Both of sterling integrity, while the one on entering 
office disposed of his shares in the public stocks to 
place himself beyond the reach of suspicion, the 
other during his dictatorship received but two 
dollars a day from the public treasury, and after 
conquering a kingdom, retired, like Cincinnatus of 



38 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



old, to his farm, to live by the labour of his hands. 
These characteristics, combined with an intense 
hatred of all diplomacy, produced in Garibaldi a 
personal antipathy to Cavour, which on the sur- 
render of Nice culminated in open hostility. That 
his birthplace should have been ceded to Napoleon, 
whom he disliked still more than Cavour, he regarded 
almost as a personal insult ; and although that sur- 
render had been approved by the Parliament and 
the king, and voted for by the people, Cavour 
appeared to him as its sole author. He did not see 
that had Nice been refused the Italian cause would 
have been in danger, and that the minister who 
should have incurred the responsibility of the 
refusal would have been liable to impeachment 
as a traitor. He overlooked the fact that his 
expeditions had found a supporter in Cavour, who 
had protected them from foreign intervention ; and 
that it was in no small degree due to his efforts that 
he was enabled to enter Naples alone, and to be 
received with open arms by the Neapolitan troops, 
who still held possession of the city. His prejudice 
was no doubt, in great measure, the effect of the 
influences by which he was surrounded. He had 
early in life been connected with Mazzini, and long 
continued to manifest his sympathy with the 
republican party. But when Manin, the Venetian 
patriot, urged the union of all parties under the 
leadership of the house of Savoy, he renounced his 
former alliance, and generously gave his adherence 
to the constitutional monarchy of Victor Emmanuel. 
Later, on becoming personally acquainted with the 
king, he found in his character simplicity, straight- 
forwardness, and patriotism, much that was con- 
genial to himself, and he conceived for him a loyal 
attachment. 

This course was at the time bitterly condemned 
by his former associates, and by Mazzini himself. 
But now, in the hour of his triumph, those who 
not long before had been engaged in vilifying his 
name in Europe and in America flocked to Naples, 
insinuated themselves again into his confidence, 
and by playing on his real or fancied grievances, 
strove to widen the breach between him and Cavour, 
whom they justly regarded as the great supporter 
of constitutional monarchy, and the staunch oppo- 
nent of their schemes. Good, unsophisticated, 
generous, and new in the art of government, 
the hero of the battlefield became a child in the 
hands of those adventurers. Naples and Sicily 
fell under their control, and exhibited more com- 



pletely than ever the effects of that disorganization 
to which they had been previously reduced by a 
long reign of despotism. From Gaeta, Francis II. 
now threatened an invasion of his former dominions, 
whilst Austria from Verona and Mantua, and 
Lamoriciere from Ancona, were preparing to act 
in concert with him. In this state of things it 
was necessary that Southern Italy should at once 
declare her union with the northern and central 
provinces, and thus justify the intervention of 
Sardinia, by which alone regularity could be 
introduced into the administration, and the invasion 
repelled. The great majority demanded annexa- 
tion; but Garibaldi, who had taken possession of 
the kingdom in the name of Victor Emmanuel, 
seemed to waver between his former adherence 
to Mazzini and his fidelity to the king. Pressed 
by public opinion to consult the vote of the people, 
he at last consented to open the ballot-box, but 
only on condition of the dismissal of Cavour from 
the cabinet. Such a request, destructive of all 
constitutional liberty, found no favour with the 
king; and Cavour, receiving new assurances of 
confidence from the Parliament, decided on a bold 
movement. The situation was growing every 
day more alarming; while anarchy threatened 
Naples, the mercenaries of the pope were pouring 
in from all quarters, and Garibaldi himself was 
held in check on the Volturno; the republicans 
began to speak openly of attacking the French 
garrison at Rome, and the Austrians in the for- 
tresses of the Quadrilateral. Baffled in their plan 
of removing Cavour from the government, the 
same party prevailed on Garibaldi to subordinate 
the annexation of Southern Italy to the deliver- 
ance of Rome and Venice, and he, in fact, pro- 
claimed that he would allow the union to be 
consummated only when he could crown Victor 
Emmanuel king of Italy on the Quirinal. Cavour 
saw that the attempt to carry out this plan would 
bring certain defeat, involve Sardinia in a war 
with Austria, break up the French alliance, 
cause the abandonment of the non-intervention 
policy, and probably sacrifice the conquests 
already achieved. Had Garibaldi been able to 
carry out his dream, to make his triumphal 
passage across Umbria and the Marches, rout the 
troops of Lamoriciere, put to flight the French 
army, expel Austria, and bring aid to Hungary 
and Poland, his very successes would have pro- 
voked an armed intervention. His triumphs as 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



39 



well as his defeats appeared equally fatal to Italy. 
There was no time to lose; " If we do not reach 
the Cattolica before Garibaldi, we are lost," said 
Cavour. By a master stroke of policy, he deter- 
mined at once to take possession of Umbria and 
the Marches, push forward the army to Naples and 
Sicily, and wrest from Garibaldi the leadership of 
the nation. The deputations from these provinces, 
demanding immediate annexation, were at once 
favourably listened to. Cardinal Antonelli was 
summoned, in the name of Italy, to disband his 
mercenaries, the Sardinian army crossed the 
frontier, and the fleet set sail for the Adriatic. 
By the victory of Castelfidardo and the siege of 
Ancona the papal army was scattered to the winds, 
Lamoriciere taken prisoner, Perugia avenged, and 
the national flag unfurled over the papal dominions. 

Victor Emmanuel, at the head of his troops, now 
entered the Neapolitan territory, and on approach- 
ing the camp at Capua was met by Garibaldi, who, 
amidst the enthusiastic cheers of the two armies, 
saluted him King of Italy. The wisdom of the 
policy followed by Cavour on this occasion can 
only be questioned by those who make the prin- 
ciple of nationality subservient to the interests of 
dynasties and to the claims of despotism. 

By taking possession of Umbria and the 
Marches, and by occupying Southern Italy, he 
defeated the rash designs of the Republicans, and 
put an end to the not less menacing projects of 
Lamoriciere and Francis II. He showed also a 
just appreciation of the character of Garibaldi, on 
whose patriotism, loyalty, and generous instincts 
he confidently relied; and he was not mistaken; 
for scarcely had the king announced his intention 
to proceed to Naples when the great chieftain, 
listening to the voice of his heart, summoned the 
people to the ballot box, and the annexation being 
voted for by a large majority, he at once resigned 
his dictatorship and retired to his humble home. 

On the 18th of February, 1861, the first Italian 
Parliament representing united Italy was convened 
in the old capital of Sardinia. The roar of the 
cannon which celebrated its first meeting mingled 
with that which announced the fall of Gaeta; the 
sound echoed throughout the peninsula, and bore 
to Austria and the papacy a warning of their 
approaching downfall. Italy at last revived in 
the unity of her people, her constitution, and 
monarchy. She rose from beneath the ruins of 
thrones which crushed her and divided her as by 



barriers, and now she has taken her place among 
the nations. Her standard proudly waves from 
Milan to Palermo; her army marches in triumph 
from Monte Rosa to -<Etna; her navy rides joyfully 
on the Mediterranean and the Adriatic. Another 
war in later years fought unsuccessfully by Austria 
against other enemies, bore fruit to Italy in the 
restoration of Venice and the Quadrilateral; and 
as these lines are penned, the troops of Victor 
Emmanuel are taking possession of Rome in the 
name of the Italian people. 

But Cavour did not live to see this wondrous 
conclusion, which gave so marvellous a complete- 
ness to his plans for the regeneration of his 
country. The ill feeling entertained towards him 
by Garibaldi was one among several causes to 
which his last fatal illness has been attributed. 
The occupation of Naples by Sardinian troops, the 
yielding to Louis Napoleon on the Roman question, 
and government measures for disbanding the volun- 
teers when the war was over, were three sources of 
the increased bitterness which the hero of the volun- 
teers felt toward the statesman. Garibaldi, with 
his contempt for policy, declined at first to sit in 
the Italian Parliament, to which he was elected by 
several constituencies ; but at length he consented 
to represent a district of Naples, and on the 18th 
April, 1861, he made his first appearance in the 
Chamber of Deputies for the purpose, as it soon 
appeared, of making an attack on the prime minister. 
The debate that arose was upon the subject of the 
volunteers, concerning whom Baron Ricasoli had 
moved for papers, with a view to bring about a 
reconciliation between the two eminent men in 
question. Garibaldi entered the hall in his worn 
red shirt, surrounded by his friends, amid the cheers 
of the house and the galleries, and after hearing 
Ricasoli and the secretary of war, he rose to address 
the Chamber. He thanked Ricasoli for introducing 
a subject of such vital importance to him, as it con- 
cerned the interests of his companions in arms ; he 
admitted the disagreement existing between him 
and Cavour, but declared that he was always ready to 
yield whenever the welfare of the country demanded 
it. Then, instigated, it is said, by some of his most 
reckless adherents, he gave way to a lamentable 
burst of ill feeling. He repeated an old taunt that 
Cavour had made him a foreigner in his native land 
(Nice) ; reproached him for having blighted his 
success in Naples by his cold and baneful influence ; 
and rising to a climax of bitterness, he accused him 



40 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



of having instigated civil war and of being the 
enemy of his country. Wounded to the quick, 
Cavour rose to protest. But the Chamber protested 
for him ; the members sprang to their feet as one 
man, and amidst the general confusion and shouts 
of an indignant assembly, the chairman declared 
the house adjourned. This protest found an echo 
through the civilized world ; and the press of Europe 
and America, while they bestowed their tribute of 
admiration on the great volunteer, were unanimous 
in the expression of their sorrow, that he who 
represented the arm of Italy should have indulged 
in such an attack upon him who represented the 
national mind. Order being restored in the house, 
General Bixio, a warm friend of Garibaldi and one of 
his bravest lieutenants, made an earnest appeal to 
him not to sacrifice to his feeling the holy cause in 
which they all with equal patriotism were engaged ; 
he implored Cavour to forgive his chief, and both 
to unite their efforts in accomplishing the great 
work which Providence had intrusted to their 
hands. Cavour was the first to accept the proposed 
reconciliation, and with his usual urbanity offered 
not only forgiveness but oblivion of what had just 
occurred ; he had even the magnanimity to justify 
the attack of his adversary by remarking that 
"from the grief which he himself felt, wdien he 
thought it his duty to advise the king to cede Nice 
and Savoy, he could well understand the feelings 
of the general and the resentment he had shown." 
The house by an overwhelming majority expressed 
its adhesion to Cavour's policy, but Garibaldi still 
showed distrust, even after the king had made a 
personal effort to reconcile him to the great states- 
man. Cavour, though victorious in Parliament, 
felt deeply the wound inflicted on him by the mis- 
appreciation of his labours proclaimed so loudly 
and persistently by Garibaldi and the most extreme 
among his followers. Incessant labour, immense 
responsibility, and bitter disappointment, began to 
affect his health, and he had two or three attacks of 
brain congestion. For the first time he complained 
of fatigue, of the inability to rest, and confessed to 
the feeling that "his frame was giving way beneath 
his mind and will." He wished for time to finish 
his work. Then he would care little what might 
happen ; "indeed," he said, "I should be glad to 
die." Still he worked on with redoubled zeal till 
the last ; he was every day at his post in the Par- 
liament, answering questions, initiating the new 
house into the proceedings of constitutional govern- 



ment, urging forward measures best adapted to 
accomplish the unity of the nation, and explaining 
his policy with increased power and earnestness, as 
if a secret voice told him it was the legacy he was 
to bequeath to his country. As the head of the 
executive department, his labours were still greater ; 
the sudden annexation of so many new provinces 
increased his duties to a prodigious extent. Old 
abuses were to be done away with, new institutions 
introduced, clashing interests reconciled, finances 
systematized, taxes revised, ways and means pro- 
vided, the codes reformed, railroads marked out 
and built, telegraphs extended, the army and navy 
increased, every department re-organized, and, in 
short, order created out of chaos. As minister of 
foreign affairs the whole burden of the complicated 
relations with other countries rested upon him ; and 
he was forced to keep a constant watch over the 
chess-board of European diplomacy, in order that 
he might influence the movements of friendly 
powers, ward off the attacks of enemies, and seize 
the moment in which he might checkmate the 
emperor of Austria and the government of Rome. 
In fact, he had the control of a Titanic revolution, 
which his position obliged him to direct solely 
through diplomatic skill and energy. 

On Thursday, the 4th of June, alarming sj'mp- 
toms began to appear in the sufferer, and the news 
of his dangerous condition spreading through 
Turin, cast a deep gloom over the city. The streets 
leading to his palace were soon filled with a silent 
and sorrowful multitude, eagerly awaiting reports 
from the sick chamber. Those who but the day 
before had been his bitter opponents, now laying 
aside all party considerations, mingled with that 
anxious crowd ; eyes which had regarded him with 
coldness or envy were now wet with tears, and 
many a one among that throng would willingly 
have given himself a sacrifice to save the life on 
which the fate of the nation seemed to hang. And 
when, toward the last, that deep sdence was broken 
by the sound of the bell of the Viaticum, alternating 
with the prayers for the dying ; and the solemn 
procession of torch-bearers, led by the good Fra 
Giacomo bearing the Host, was seen entering the 
palace — a sob of anguish arose from that multitude, 
as if the last hope of the country was about to be 
extinguished for ever. Within, beneath the roof 
under which he was born, conscious that his last 
hour had come, yet calm, confident, and serene, 
lay the dying statesman, dying at the close of the 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



41 



first festival of the national birthday, thus rendered 
doubly sacred to posterity ; surrounded by his 
household and friends, in the embrace of the king 
to whom he had given the crown of Italy ; amidst 
the anxiety of all Europe, expressed by the hourly 
telegrams received from the various capitals ; dying 
as he lived — an honest man, a true patriot, opposing 
to the last the papal church, whose sacraments, the 
symbols of Christianity, he received in spite of her 
excommunication, thus showing that he could be 
a Christian without being a Papist. Whether in 
the full possession of his faculties or in the wan- 
derings of delirium, no bitterness or rancour escaped 
his lips, but he spake words of cheer and consolation 
to his friends, assuring them that all was saved, 
that Italy was secure ; and as the morning of the 
6th June dawned he gradually sank, still absorbed 
in the one thought of his country, for whose great- 
ness he had lived, and uttering faintly and at in- 
tervals the darling names of Italy, Venice, Eome. 
The grandeur of Cavour's character as a states- 
man must be estimated by the magnitude of his 
object, the boldness and the prudence with which 
he executed his designs, and the extraordinary 
power which he possessed of foreseeing results, 
and of converting obstacles into means. He 
combined the originality and depth of a theorist 
with the practical genius of a true reformer ; he 
understood the character of the age in which he 
lived, and made it tributary to his great purposes. 
He made self-government the object of legislation, 
political economy the source of liberty, and liberty 
the basis of nationality. Aware that neither revo- 
lution nor conservatism alone could produce the 
regeneration of his country, he opposed them in 
their separate action, while he grasped them both 
with a firm hand, yoked them together, and led them 
on to conquest. He saw that Italian independ- 
ence could only be attained through the aid of 
foreign alliance. He recognized in Napoleon III. 
the personification of organized revolution, and 
the natural ally of the Italian people ; and the 
work which he foreshadowed in the union of the 
Sardinian troops with the armies of England and 
France in the Crimea, and for which he laid the 
foundation in the Congress of Paris, was achieved 
with the victories of Magenta and Solferino, and 
was followed by the recognition of the new king- 
dom of Italy by all the states of Europe save two 
— Austria and Spain. The thought of Venice 
and the Quadrilateral lay heavy on his heart in 



his last hours. Another and a foreign statesman 
was destined to accomplish the completion of the 
new kingdom on that side — a statesman who 
doubtless pondered deeply over the career of Count 
Cavour, and who undertook a task of kindred 
nature to his, of yet larger scope, the task of unify- 
ing the German nation. Of that statesman, Count 
von Bismarck, and of his work for Italy as well as 
for his own country, much will have to be said in 
future chapters. It is enough to indicate here the 
resemblance of the work he had to do with that 
which was so admirably performed by the long- 
lamented Cavour. 

The Roman question, unsolved at the time of 
Cavour's death, was taken up by his successor in 
the ministry, Baron Ricasoli, who, full of respect for 
the church, endeavoured to reconcile its head with 
the state and the king. In August, 1861, he wrote 
a most conciliatory letter to the pope, in which he 
reminded his Holiness of the events of 1848 and 
1849, when " Italy, moved by words of gentleness 
and pardon which came from your lips, conceived 
the hope of closing the series of its secular misfor- 
tunes, and beginning the era of its regeneration." 
The pope's resistance, he went on to say, or rather 
his want of co-operation with the cause of inde- 
pendence, filled the minds of the Italians with 
bitterness. " But the rights of nationality are im- 
perishable, and the See of Holy Peter, by virtue 
of a divine promise, is imperishable also. Since 
neither of the two adversaries can disappear from 
the field of battle, they must become reconciled, so 
that the world may not be thrown into terrible and 
endless perturbations." The good baron proceeds 
to argue that a free church in a free state would 
be the very thing to suit both pope and people. 
" You can," he concluded, " you can, Holy Father, 
once more change the face of the world ; you can 
raise the Apostolic See to a height unknown to the 
church in past ages. If you wish to be greater 
than kings of the earth, free yourself from the mis- 
eries of this royalty which makes you only their 
equal. Italy will give you a secure see, an entire 
liberty, a new grandeur. She venerates the pon- 
tiff, but she cannot arrest her march before the 
prince; she wishes to remain Catholic, but she 
wishes to be a nation free and independent. If 
you listen to the prayer of this favourite daughter, 
you will gain in souls more power than you have 
lost as a prince; and from the height of the Vati- 
can, when stretching your hand over Rome and 



42 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



the world to bless them, you will see the nations 
re-established in their rights, bending before you 
their defender and protector." Impressive words 
and true, but the pope was too much a man of 
the world not to know that his temporalities were 
worth having as long as he could keep them; 
and neither the blandishments of Ricasoli nor 
the abuse of Petrucelli made his Holiness loose 
his hold on the temporal power, so long as there 
was protection at hand. The letters were sent 
through the French government, and all the answer 
vouchsafed to them was that the pope was " not in 
a humour " to entertain such proposals. The " most 
holy Janus," as Petrucelli styled him in the Italian 
Parliament, relied on French bayonets, and answered 
every appeal of his fellow-countrymen for friendly 
alliance by a non possicmus. A Janus indeed, 
" with two faces, one that of the pontiff, serene 
and august; the other, that of the king of Rome, 
idiotic, ferocious, brutal." Still the French held 
Rome, and bound over the Italians to keep the 
peace with the spiritual " head of all the faithful." 
Garibaldi, however, was not restrained by the same 
power, and about a year after the rejection of Rica- 
soli's proposals, the volunteer chief improvised an 
expedition that, starting from Genoa, landed in 
Sicily, passed thence into Calabria, and marched 
towards Rome, in the hope of planting the flag of 
Italy on the walls of the Eternal City. He en- 
deavoured to secure the sympathy and assistance of 
the Hungarians, upon whom the Austrian rule still 
pressed heavily, and who, as Garibaldi trusted, would 
rise in thousands at the trumpet call of revolution. 
But the " sons of Arpad " were deaf to the voice 
of the charmer, and their feelings were expressed 
in a very sober, sensible letter, addressed by Klapka 
from Turin to the Italian chief, and pointing out 
that neither time nor place were propitious to 
revolution, and that the Hungarians would do well 
to wait for a more favourable opportunity. King 
Victor Emmanuel issued a proclamation condemn- 
ing the expedition in grave and emphatic terms, 
and General Cialdini was sent to oppose it with 
Italian troops. The latter sent forward Major- 
general Pallavicino from Reggio to overtake Gari- 
baldi. He found him on the morning of the 29th 
of August encamped at the foot of the plateau of 
Aspromonte. An engagement ensued, in which 
the rebels had no chance. They were surrounded 
on all sides, and both Garibaldi and his son Menotti 
were wounded, the former having a bullet in his 



ankle, which was not extracted without consider- 
able difficulty. A very characteristic letter from 
Garibaldi bewailing the conflict of Italian against 
Italian, appeared in the month of September. 
" They thirsted for blood, and I wished to spare it. 
I ran to the front of our line crying out to them 
not to fire, and from the centre to the left where 
my voice and those of my aides-de-camp could be 
heard, not a trigger was pulled. It was not thus 
on the attacking side. . . . If I had not been 
wounded at the outset, and if my people had not 
received the order under all circumstances to avoid 
any collision with the regular troops, the contest 
between men of the same race would have been 
terrible. However, far better as it is. Whatever 
may be the result of my wounds, whatever fate the 
government prepares for me, I have the conscious- 
ness of having done my duty ; and the sacrifice of 
my life is a very little tiling if it has contributed to 
save that of a great number of my fellow-country- 
men." A prisoner so simple-minded, and so illustri- 
ous by deeds of heroism, could not be dealt with 
harshly, and the king with the consent of his 
ministers granted a slightly qualified amnesty to 
all the prisoners, and a free pardon to their leader, 
who again returned to his island home at Caprera. 
Thus the pope continued to sit on his temporal 
throne at Rome, or rather upon French bayonets, 
performing agreeably to his high pretensions what 
Talleyrand pronounced to be an impossibility. 
"You can do anything with bayonets but sit upon 
them," said the witty diplomatist when speaking 
once of the military occupation of a foreign territory'. 
The French emperor, to obviate the inconvenience 
of further expeditions like Garibaldi's, contracted 
a treaty with the king of Italy, which is generally 
known as the September Convention. It defined 
the period within which the Papal States were to 
be evacuated by the French troops, and contained 
the following four articles : — 1 , Italy engages not 
to attack the present territory of the Holy Father, 
and to prevent, even by force, every attack upon 
the said territory coming from without; 2, France 
will withdraw her troops from the Pontifical States 
gradually, and in proportion as the army of the 
Holy Father shall be organized. The evacuation 
shall nevertheless be accomplished within the space 
of two years; 3, The Italian government engages 
to raise no protest against the organization of a 
Papal army, even if composed of foreign Catholic 
volunteers, sufficing to maintain the authority of 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN AVAR. 



43 



the Holy Father, and tranquillity as well in the 
interior as upon the frontier of his states, provided 
that this force should not degenerate into a means 
of attack against the Italian government; 4, Italy 
declares herself ready to enter into an arrangement 
to take under her charge a proportionate part of the 
debt of the former states of the church. This 
convention, as its name implies, was dated on the 
15th of September, 1864. 

At the same time it was determined to remove 
the capital of Italy from Turin to Florence. 
Several reasons conspired to make this a desirable 
change, but the chief was the exposed situation 
of Turin, in case of war, to attack either by 
France or Austria. Florence is beneath the shelter 
of the Apennines; and except Eome, which at 
that time was unattainable, it is, amongst the prin- 
cipal towns of Italy, the one that lies nearest the 
centre of the kingdom. But the population of 
Turin were naturally opposed to a measure which 
would reduce their fair city from a capital to a 
provincial town, and the demeanour of the crowd 
assembled in the square or place opposite the 
palace was so turbulent, that the soldiers fired 
upon it and several lives were lost. 

A bill brought into the Chamber to authorize 
the transfer of the capital, gave rise to a long 
debate at the end of November, in the course of 
which General Cialdini delivered a speech re- 
markable for its spirit and eloquence. " Italy," 
he said, " has two-thirds and more of her frontier 
washed by the sea. The other third is joined to 
the continent by the circle of the Alps. In a 
sublime contrast at the foot of these gigantic 
and snowy Alps stretch out the vast and fertile 
plains of Lombardy and Piedmont. The Apen- 
nines, as if weary of the Mediterranean, bend back 
and cross over to the Adriatic, forming a great, 
curtain, an immense towering curtain, between the 
two seas, from Genoa to La Cattolica. In front of 
the Apennines you have the vast and beautiful 
valley of the Po, in which you find the Austrian 
encamped in his strong Quadrilateral, and of which 
— I mean the valley of the Po — we can neither 
fortify nor defend the principal outlets, because 
they are not" (this was spoken in 1864) " in our 
hands. The valley of the Po, therefore, shows us 
an enemy solidly established in a house which has 
its door open to whoever chooses to enter. Can 
it be pretended or desired that the capital of the 
kingdom should be in this valley of the Po? Let 



us hasten to remove behind the Apennines, not 
only the capital, but the arsenals, the depots, the 
reserves, all our resources, all our most vital 
interests; then let the passes of the Apennines 
be put in a state of defence. From Genoa to La 
Cattolica the roads across them are only seven or 
eight. All these roads offer gorges, defiles, which 
are real Thermopylae, where a few earthworks, a 
few guns, and a handful of brave men, can arrest 
a whole army. Let us erect some solid fortifica- 
tions at La Cattolica to secure the flank, and then 
multiply as far as possible the permanent and 
portable means of passing from one bank of the Po 
to the other, and thus prepare the possibility of 
useful, rapid, and decisive manoeuvres. Whenever 
this general system of defence of the state is 
accepted and carried out, the destinies of Italy can 
never depend on the uncertain issue of a battle. 
At our pleasure, and according to circumstances, 
we can retire behind the Po, and beyond the 
Apennines to await better days; or, if it suits us, 
if we are in a position to fight, we may come down 
and try the fate of arms in the valley of the Po. I 
too," he continued, in allusion to the grievance of 
the Turinese, " have a heart which profoundly feels 
the bitterness of political life, and can understand 
great affections and great sorrows. Heaven forbid, 
therefore, that a word, a single syllable, should 
fall from my lips which should in any degree 
wound those affections, those sorrows, which I 
fully comprehend and thoroughly respect. But 
when the security, the greatness, the future life of 
Italy are at stake, affection must be silent, the heart 
must not speak; logic alone, cold and inexorable, 
must reason. An eye filled with tears does not see. 
A heart wrung by profound pain has only sad pre- 
visions, mournful presentiments. A suffering brain 
is oppressed by black images, by sorrowful ideas. 
But are we to pause, dismayed by presentiments, 
previsions, fears ? Oh ! if all the prophecies of 
misfortune had been verified, what would have 
become of us, what would have become of Italy? 
Let us take heart, and recognize that a secret 
force, more quick-sighted, stronger, more enlight- 
ened than we, guides Italy on a determined course; 
let us acknowledge that the Italian revolution 
pursues its march, slow and pacific, but more 
irresistible than we could have imagined or de- 
sired, beyond the limits which we ourselves had 
imagined and traced out. I deplore the injury to 
Turin as much as any one, as on the field of battle 



41 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



I have often wept over fallen soldiers and friends ; 
but, not to lose soldiers and friends, ought we to 
renounce combats and victories ! Not to cause 
local injuries and sorrows, shall we sacrifice the 
general interest, shall we sacrifice the public weal? 
With Turin, seated at the foot of the Alps, at the 
extremity of the state, but a few miles from the 
French frontier, in the most eccentric conditions 
which can be laid down, I dispute with pain, but 
with entire conviction, the title of a capital. If 
from this solemn place you tell the cities and pro- 
vinces whence you come, that the sacrifices asked 
are indispensable for the safety, the strength, the 
future of Italy, be sure the people will believe 
you. If you tell them that liberty, independence, 
national unity, are blessings for which too high 
a price can never be paid, the people will believe 



you. Tell them so, I implore you. The school 
of sacrifice ennobles great causes, retempers the 
soul, and magnifies the national character of 
peoples. Prometheus could transform clay into 
men. Sacrifice alone changes men into heroes?" 
Such noble eloquence, vivid even in a bald trans- 
lation, was borne, in the gallant general's native 
tongue, to the inmost hearts of his hearers. The 
bill was carried by a majority of 134 to 47, and 
on the 11th of December appeared a royal decree, 
declaring that the capital of the kingdom should 
be transferred to Florence within six months, 
which decree was duly carried into effect in the 
year 1865. Rome and Venice only were wanting 
to complete the kingdom of Italy, and already had 
begun that solemn march of events which was to 
lead to the fulfilment of the Italian patriot's dream. 



CHaPTEK III. 



Prussian history from 1848 to 1864 — Queen Louisa and her two sons — Death of Frederick William IV. — Accession of William — His political 
inheritance — Triumph of Prince Schwartzenberg at Olmutz — Humiliation of the Prussian Army — Desire for revenge — Effect on Germany 
of the war in Italy — Growing feeling for German unity — Cavour and Bismarck — Schleswig and Holstein — An old Historical Question 
— Holstein the northern frontier of Charlemagne's empire — Settlement of Germans in Schleswig — Separate administration of the Elbe 
Duchies and Denmark — Prussia retires from the Duchies in 1850 — Treaty of London, 1852, guarantees tho integrity of Denmark — Ratified 
by all the Powers save by the Diet of the German Confederation — European opinion — Outcry against England — Political intrigues — Herr 
Otto von Bismarck — Lord Russell's innocuous interference — His Gotha despatch — His "Forfeiture" Letter from Blairgowrie — Its stoppage 
— Bismarck's change of policy — Re-combination of the European cabinets — King Christian IX. — Prince of Augustenburg — Federal 
execution — Austria and Prussia in the Diet — Troops in Holstein and in Schleswig enter Jutland — The London Conference — The war 
before and alter the Conference — Action at Mysunde — March on Fredericia — Siege of Dybbol — Its storm and capture by the Prussians — 
Suspension of hostilities — Break-up of the Conference — Hostilities renewed — Attack upon Alsen — The Rolf-Krake — Defeat of the Danes — 
Prussians expel the Federal troops from Rendsburg — Negotiations at Vienna — Treaty of Peace — Remarks — Co-occupation of the Duchies 
by Austria and Prussia — Dissensions between the two Powers — Convention of Gastein — Division of the Duchies — Anger of the Cabinets 
of London and Paris — Dissatisfaction of Austria — Preparations of Prussia — The Prussian Army — Its reconstruction by Scharnhorst — Its 
defects visible in 1850, 1854, and 1859 — -Reorganization — The Needle Gun — Austrian ascendancy undermined. 



The spirit of Louisa, the heroic queen of Prussia, 
would have been soothed in the darkest hour of 
her depression and her country's humiliation had 
she been able to foresee, that on two of her sons 
in succession the eyes of all Germany were to be 
steadfastly fixed as leaders in the great movement 
for the unification of the Fatherland. The eldest 
son, King Frederick William IV., trusted to have 
accomplished the great task by placing himself at 
the head of the liberalism of Central Europe; but 
he failed. The second son, King William I., allied 
himself with the conservatism of his country, and 
by military prowess succeeds in the great achieve- 
ment. " Prussia disappears, Germany is called into 
existence," was one of the significant utterances of 
Frederick William during the revolutionary epoch of 
1848-49. His refined and cultured nature shrank, 
however, from the excesses committed by the in- 
surgents of that '.lay, and he refused the proffered 
crown of Germany, on the plea that it was the fruit 
of revolution. The liberal constitution granted by 
him to his own subjects, and proclaimed in the 
first month of the year 1850, was subsequently 
modified by him on eight different occasions: 
namely, once in April, 1851; once in May, and 
again in June, 1852; after that twice in May, 1853; 
then in June, 1854; and in the following May, 
1855; and finally in May, 1857. The result of 
these numerous modifications by royal decree was 
a tolerably conservative constitution, vesting con- 
siderable power in the executive. The king did 
not long survive the last change that was made. 
His health had suffered from the excitement pro- 



duced by the scenes in which he participated at the 
time of the national convulsions, and in the autumn 
of 1858 he was unfitted for the duties of govern- 
ment by an attack of apoplexy. He died in January, 
1861, at the age of sixty-six, and was succeeded on 
the throne by his brother William, who had been 
regent for more than two years, and who at the time 
of his coronation was in the sixty-fifth year ofhis age. 
Two political legacies bequeathed to the new 
king were destined to be fruitful of important 
consequences : they were the Schleswig and 
Holstein question, and the humiliation which the 
late king had received from Prince Schwartzen- 
berg, the Austrian prime minister, in the matter of 
Hesse-Cassel. As already mentioned, Austria had 
insisted that Frederick William should withdraw 
his troops, both from the duchies north of the 
Elbe and from Hesse. The king was undecided 
and unhappy. For a moment he thought of re- 
sistance, delivered a warlike speech at the opening 
of the Chambers, and nominated Herr Kadowitz to 
the ministry. The army was put on a war footing, 
and the landwehr called out. A warlike spirit 
breathed through the nation, which began to 
recall the glorious days of the Great Frederick. 
But Schwartzenberg drew closer his alliance with 
Bavaria, and gathered a formidable army of 180,000 
men on the Hessian frontier with a promptitude 
that astonished Europe, and revealed for the first 
time the great change that the use of railways had 
introduced into strategy. War seemed inevitable. 
The heir to the Prussian throne and the conservative 
party wished for it. Already shots had been ex- 



46 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



changed by the outposts, when M. Prokesch, the 
Austrian envoy, summoned Prussia to quit Hesse in 
four and twenty hours. At the critical moment the 
king's kindly nature made him shrink from the 
responsibility of war between German and German. 
He gave way, dismissed the Radowitz ministry, and 
sent M. Manteuffel to Olmutz to submit to the 
dictation of Prince Schwartzenberg. Prussia was 
obliged to sacrifice her allies, the popular party 
in Hesse and in Schleswig respectively, and to 
recognize the authority of that Diet in which her 
rival reigned supreme. 

The day of the treaty of Olmutz sank deep into 
the heart of Prussia, and was remembered by the 
army especially as a time of shame and ridicule 
that called for vengeance — a vengeance that was 
not slaked until the " crowning mercy" of Sadowa 
had visited their arms. For a time Austria was 
triumphant, and endeavoured even to incorporate 
all her various populations, German, Magyar, 
and Sclavonic, in the German Confederation, with 
a view to perpetuate her absolute preponderance 
in central Europe. But France and other foreign 
powers were so strongly opposed to this scheme 
that it was given up. Indeed, every step that 
had been taken towards national unity seemed to 
end only in greater disunion. " German unity," 
said an Austrian pamphleteer of this time, " is like 
squaring the circle; when you think you have got 
hold of it you discover that it is impossible. It is 
like our cathedrals ; there is not one that is finished." 

The war which Louis Napoleon carried into 
Italy brought new hope to the German unionists, 
although it excited the anger of the sovereigns, 
and almost drove Bavaria into an alliance with 
Austria. " The Italian war," wrote the demo- 
cratic socialist Lasalle, " is not only sanctified by 
every principle of democracy, but it is an enormous 
advantage for Germany, to whom it brings salva- 
tion. Napoleon III., when he invites the Italians 
to drive the Austrians out of the peninsula, per- 
forms a German mission; he overthrows Austria, 
the eternal obstacle that prevents the unity of our 
country. If the map of Europe is reconstructed 
on behalf of the nationalities of the south, let us 
apply the same principle to the north. Let Prus- 
sia act without hesitation. If she does not she 
will have given a proof that monarchy is incapable 
of national action." Did this challenge of the 
socialist and democrat sink into the heart of the 
trenchant conservative Karl Otto von Bismarck? 



Unquestionably he pondered deeply on the Italian 
war, and was himself the author, as it is confidently 
reported, of a pamphlet entitled, " La Prusse et la 
Question Italienne." To him the career of Count 
Cavour must have been profoundly instructive 
and full of suggestion, as will be seen anon. 

It behoves now to speak of that second unpleasant 
political heritage which had descended to King 
William from his brother — the Schleswig-Hol- 
stein question, the intricacy of which demands 
some care on the part of the writer to unravel, 
and on the part of the reader some patience to 
follow. Lord Palmcrston used to say there was 
only one man besides himself who understood the 
Schleswig-Holstein question, and that man was 
dead. It is in perfect keeping with the character 
of the most learned people of Europe that the first 
appeal to arms made on behalf of German national 
unity should rest on historical questions nearly a 
thousand years old. Was the duchy of Holstein 
a fief of the empire, and therefore part of the 
Germanic empire? If it was, could Schleswig be 
said to exist in the same dependence by virtue 
of a union with Holstein that had existed from a 
remote period of time? Schleswig, it was clear, 
never had, per se, been a fief of the empire, for 
the northern boundary of Charlemagne's territory 
was known to be the river Eider, which divides 
Schleswig from Holstein. Only part of the popu- 
lation of Schleswig, moreover, was of German 
race, settlers who at various times had straggled 
across the river from the southern duchy; and nc 
theory of nationality can justly demand the absorp- 
tion of the Danish population of North Schleswig 
by the Germanic Confederation. Such were the 
questions discussed with great heat and learning 
in all the German universities, but in none more 
hotly or more learnedly than in the university of 
Kiel in Holstein; nor did the most accomplished 
civilians of Europe disdain to attempt an elucida- 
tion of a subject so thorny and so obscure. It 
has been seen on a previous page that, in the year 
of universal revolution (1848), the Holsteiners, 
prompted by the men of Kiel, had risen in insur- 
rection against the Danish government, had been 
assisted by the Prussians armed with the authority 
of the German Diet, had achieved a temporary 
independence, and finally had succumbed to the 
Danes after two pitched battles in which they were 
grievously defeated. The conquerors, following 
up their advantage, resolved to deprive the duchies 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



47 



of the separate constitution under which they had 
been governed, and to incorporate the duchy of 
Schleswig at least in a common constitution with 
the kingdom of Denmark. This proceeding was 
deeply resented by the German population of the 
duchies, and by their kindred on the continent of 
Europe. In view of the death of King Frederick 

VII. without male heirs, the great powers of 
Europe, " taking into consideration that the main- 
tenance of the integrity of the Danish monarchy, 
as connected with the general interests of the 
balance of power in Europe, is of high importance 
to the preservation of peace, signed a treaty at 
London on May 8, 1852, by the terms of which 
the succession to the crown of Denmark was made 
over to Prince Christian of Schleswig- Holstein- 
Sonderburg-Gllicksburg, and to the direct male 
descendants of his union with the Princess Louise 
of Hesse-Cassel, granddaughter of King Christian 

VIII. of Denmark." This unfortunate treaty, the 
latest production of the effete " balance of power " 
doctrine, was soon brought to the test, having to 
face the new and infinitely more potent principles 
known by the names of " nationality" and " non- 
intervention." In the month of November, 1863, 
King Frederick died, and Prince Christian ascended 
the throne of Denmark, with the style and title of 
King Christian IX. The signatories of the treaty 
of London of 1852 were England, France, Eussia, 
Austria, and Prussia, who aU by their governments 
ratified the provisions of it — provisions made for 
dynastic purposes, and in complete disregard of 
the wishes of the German population of the Elbe 
duchies. The treaty, in fact, ought not to have 
been made, and as events are sometimes stronger 
than promises, even the most solemn, so it proved 
in this case. All the five powers found themselves 
under the necessity of breaking faith with their 
brave ally Denmark. Yet, in the nature of things, it 
was hardly possible to do otherwise. The Germans 
of Schleswig and Holstein had every right to be 
freed from the yoke which the Danes were striving 
to render more galling every day. The common 
constitution, of which more anon, proved to be, 
among other things, a means of giving all the offices 
of the duchies into the hands of Danes, to the exclu- 
sion of Germans. Christian IX., when king of Den- 
mark, practically ceased to be duke of Schleswig 
and Holstein. Yet the treaty and the five powers 
upheld this anomalous state of things. One poli- 
tical body alone had declined to ratify the treaty, 



the Diet of the Germanic Confederation, and that 
body, strong in two of its members, Austria and 
Prussia, took action in the Schleswig-Holstein 
matter, and brought about the war with Denmark 
of 1864. The strange spectacle offered by Austria 
and Prussia, of two states that individually acknow- 
ledged the validity of the treaty of 1852, yet jointly 
trampled upon it at the bidding of the Diet, was 
not edifying. Russia was not anxious to see the 
nationality theory applied in the north of Europe, 
yet abstained from interference. France had cooled 
towards England because the latter had declined 
to share in the support of the Polish insurgents, 
and had rejected her proposal for a general congress; 
while the Emperor Napoleon, consistently with the 
principles of the treaty of Zurich, again practised 
the doctrine of non-intervention towards a nation 
shaking off the yoke of a foreign race, and would 
not second the English cabinet in its endeavours 
to preserve the integrity of the Danish kingdom. 
Upon England fell the greatest amount of obloquy 
in this matter, because the government — wisely, in 
the interest of the nation, yet not without igno- 
miny — failed to maintain the guarantee inconsider- 
ately given by treaty. That she failed in company 
with her co-signatories was rightly held to have 
been no sufficient excuse. 

The reasoning on the subject at the time bears 
upon a somewhat analogous state of things at the 
present day, and may not unprofitably be briefly 
reviewed. 

" They haven't heart of grace to fight." " Was 
ever England brought into such a contemptible 
position?" " No language can describe the degree 
of ignominious shame and degradation to which we 
have fallen." "What must Europe think of us?" 
Such were a few of the mildest phrases current in 
the social and political circles of Westminster and 
the surrounding neighbourhood. They expressed 
feelings that properly belong to the days of Pitt 
and of Castlereagh. In some instances they were 
uttered by relics of that age. That was the time 
of England's greatest glory. Standing for a while 
alone against the mighty power of Napoleon, she 
succeeded in forming a vast combination by which 
the proud Corsican was at length overthrown, and 
England became the first of the nations of the 
earth. The cost was great, a heavy debt had to 
be repaid or to be borne for an indefinite number 
of years, with an annual charge of twenty-eight 
millions sterling. What of that? Has not our 



48 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



country prospered ever since? Did not the influ- 
ence then secured make her voice potent for the 
settling of many a dispute without recourse to arms, 
open new regions to our commerce, and make us 
feel so safe that the council of the nation could 
settle down to wise and liberal legislation which 
lias borne fruit a thousand-fold ? We have surely 
got our equivalent for the cost of the war; and, 
taking their own base view of the matter, the 
peace-at-any-price men ought to consider that trade 
and industry and the material wealth of the coun- 
try have been developed to their highest pitch since 
our great naval and military triumphs in the Napo- 
leonic war. Viewed from higher ground, the truth 
that a nation cannot live by commerce only is as 
certain as that man cannot live by bread alone. 
Look at Holland ! With a glorious beginning 
leading to power that made her respected by the 
greatest and most ancient nations, having rich 
dependencies in every quarter of the globe, she 
has become, by a too exclusive devotion to trade 
interests — what she is. 

Let us save England from sinking like that. 

This is a fair statement of the doctrine of " vig- 
orous measures," a doctrine which Lord Palmerston, 
with his motto " Civis Romanus sum" and Lord 
Kussell, with his waving-banner-like inscription of 
" God defend the right," both had opportunities of 
applying on behalf of Don Pacifico, the Sultan, his 
Danubian provinces, &c. 

Happily for mankind, however, the opposite 
political doctrine of non-intervention, which some 
years ago could hardly hold its ground at all, took 
deep root in the popular mind, and rapidly spread 
among all classes of society. 

The difficulties of the British government in 
1864 sprang from a want of courage in declaring 
boldly and distinctly at the outset of the Danish 
quarrel, that England did not mean again to inter- 
vene by force of arms in mere European squabbles. 
The senior members of the cabinet were hampered 
with the traditions of English policy, as it was half 
a century earlier. They knew that the country was 
opposed to intervention, and as representatives of 
the national will acted rightly in abstaining from 
warlike demonstrations, but as exponents of that 
will they failed. They used threatening language 
and made confident boastings at the beginning of 
the Schleswig-Holstein dispute, in the hope that 
Germany would pause before it encountered the 
phantom terrors of British wrath. But the Polish 



correspondence had revealed the emptiness of min- 
isterial " tall talk," and the Germans felt safe in 
pursuing their own course. A truly brave English 
minister had only to say, " I hold my office by 
virtue of that public opinion which has intrusted 
to me the interests of the British nation. Those 
interests demand a friendly intercourse with all 
nations, interference in the affairs of none. Our 
commercial and political relations are so extensive 
in all the quarters of the globe, in America, in 
Asia, in Australia, in Africa, that really it is of 
very little moment what Europe may say or think 
of us. We can better do without Europe, than 
Europe can do without us. Therefore if you wish 
to be friendly with us we shall be happy to recipro- 
cate amity; if not, we shall know how to defend 
ourselves. In a great cause we will assist our 
neighbours, but your own dynastic quarrels you 
must, if you please, settle at home without British 
interference." Such language would have been 
fully understood by the youngest generation of our 
politicians as being quite consistent with the honour 
and dignity of England on the one hand, and with 
the peace and welfare of the world on the other. 
Let the last rags of the old flag of intervention be 
flung away, and let the principles of non-interven- 
tion be openly avowed without fear of the loss 
of influence. Halting between two opinions, 
divided by feelings of the past and feelings of 
the present, our ministers spoke ill and wrote 
ill, but, thank God, they acted right. Whether 
to save their own credit or from an abstract 
love of truth and justice, they obtained a con- 
ference, at which all that could be done was 
done to induce the belligerent powers to come to 
terms. This was humane and deserving of credit. 
By what secret schemes and intrigues they were 
foiled it is impossible to say. The passions of the 
antagonists alone suffice to account for the resump- 
tion of hostilities. Surmises of many kinds were 
floating in the air. " Cousin Bernadotte " was 
directed in 1807 by Napoleon I. to occupy Den- 
mark either as friend or foe, according to the cir- 
cumstances of the hour. The descendant of that 
French general was from the throne of Sweden a 
spectator of the dismemberment of Denmark with- 
out the smallest loss of sang froid. Had he been 
inspired from the Tuileries with the notion, that if 
he waited the ripe pear would drop into his mouth ? 
If so, the approval of the German invasion of Hol- 
stein and Schleswig by Napoleon III. would become 




1E1M: 7 . U iLTOGiMl IFMfi - 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



49 



intelligible. By the small sacrifice of King Chris- 
tian IX. and the annexation of Jutland and the 
islands to Sweden and Norway, France as she faces 
Europe would have had on her advanced left a 
mighty ally in the new Scandinavian kingdom, as 
she had already on her advanced right a pretty 
strong friend in the new kingdom of Italy. A 
formidable neighbour indeed would France, under 
such circumstances, appear, were English interests 
in north-eastern Europe of a nature to be endan- 
gered by French preponderance ! Eussia, it is to 
be hoped, however, will take care of that part of the 
world. This political surmise must be taken for 
no more than it is worth. Meanwhile, let Eng- 
land not fail to maintain her ancient alliance with 
Germany, as long as she can do so with a good 
conscience. 

The conflict had long been inevitable. It was 
a struggle, not for the uplifting of every different 
nationality into independence, but for the absorp- 
tion of the small nations by the great. German 
literature, science, and art had long before invaded 
Denmark, and must ultimately conquer it, unless 
the Scandinavian mind derive new force from a 
union of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. The 
tendency of our age is the destruction, not the res- 
toration, of small separate nationalities; and it is 
not a tendency to evil. 

Since the times shadowed forth in the history of 
the Tower of Babel, mankind has been striving 
to recover from that fearful curse of dispersion and 
division of tongues which constitute the principal 
element of distinct nationalities. It is not good 
to attempt to thwart this process of amalgamation. 
Its success will be the strongest guarantee of the 
permanency of modern European civilization. The 
Roman empire maintained its great power for 
five centuries under atrocious tyrants and corrupt 
governors by virtue of the cohesion derived from 
the amalgamation of the provinces with Rome, 
that is, by the total destruction of nationalities, 
accompanied by a large measure of municipal 
freedom. 

What Julius and the other Caesars did for the 
pagan world eighteen hundred years ago, railways, 
steamboats, the electric telegraph, and the public 
press are now doing for Christendom. Puny 
efforts to arrest the march of events by recurring 
to old systems, traditionary policies, and the like, 
will be not only futile, but fatal to those who make 
the attempt. England has more weighty duties to 



perform than to defend gallant little nations that 
run their heads into danger. Private feeling may 
lament the result of an unequal struggle between 
Danes and Germans, but public duty teaches that 
war on merely chivalrous grounds must be avoided. 
The Prussian monarch believed that his mission 
was to liberate Schleswig and Holstein from the 
Danes. England has nothing to fear from Prussian 
ambition, her advantage lying rather in the forma- 
tion of a strong, united Germany, that will divide 
Russia from France. 

The future destiny of England is bound up with 
vaster interests and wider regions than Europe 
possesses. Animated with a nobler ambition than 
that which war engenders, the people of these 
islands are qualified by their freedom, their know- 
ledge, their wealth, and even by their geographical 
position, to make England the real metropolis 
of the world, the centre and fountain-head of 
the civilization of mankind. To peril so great 
a destiny by engaging in disputes concerning 
other people's boundaries, on principles that place 
"honour" (the offspring of lawless ages) above 
the Christian duty which we profess to follow, is 
not only impolitic and unpatriotic, but inhuman. 
Such was the train of reasoning that shaped the 
conduct of the English government in the Dano- 
German dispute, with certain qualifying protests 
made by the foreign secretary, Lord Russell. 

To return to the duchies. In March, 1863, 
a proclamation had been issued from Copenhagen, 
establishing an administrative separation between 
Holstein and the rest of the monarchy. The 
laws of Holstein, the budget of Holstein, even 
the army of Holstein, were to be under the control 
of the Holstein Estates, and made entirely inde- 
pendent of the Rigsraad, which was only allowed 
to deliberate on those subjects so far as they 
regarded Denmark Proper and Schleswig. The 
object of this arrangement was evidently to cut off 
Schleswig from the German influence of Holstein, 
by separating the latter as much as possible from 
the rest of the state, and thus leaving the Danes 
unimpeded in their attempts to make Schleswig 
Danish. On the 14th of July, Frederick VII. 
being still alive, the Federal Diet protested against 
the proclamation, and threatened execution unless 
it was withdrawn. The Danish government, 
however, disregarding both protest and threat, 
submitted their scheme, which included the "com- 
mon constitution" of Schleswig and Denmark 
G 



50 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



Proper, to the Rigsraad, by whom it was adopted. 
On the 14th November, 1863, it was embodied in 
a charter, and became the ostensible cause of a war 
that led to the dismemberment of Denmark. 

In the diplomatic campaign which preceded and 
accompanied the military one, the palm for political 
insight and strategic skill fell to Herr von Bis- 
marck, the king of Prussia's prime minister. It is 
true that he derived a great advantage over some 
of his antagonists, by the facility with which he 
seemed to shift his policy to suit his ends; but 
underneath this apparent unscrupulousness lay 
the one grand aim of his life, the healing of the 
divisions of his country — the welding together of 
Germany into one grand whole. When Prussian 
envoy at the Diet, of which Count Kechberg, the 
Austrian envoy, was president, Bismarck made 
no secret of his opinion that the policy of Austria 
should be turned in an eastern direction, and that 
her intervention in the affairs of Germany was 
misplaced and unnatural. Count Rechberg doubt- 
less smiled at his colleague's presumption, and 
abated not one jot of the Kaiser's pretensions to 
absolute preponderance in the Diet and in Ger- 
many. It is believed that the meeting of sovereigns 
at Frankfort in 1863, on the invitation of Austria, 
to deliberate on the reform of the Federal Union, 
was the occasion on which Bismarck resolved to 
labour with all his energy at the exclusion of 
Austria from all participation in German affairs. 
The king of Prussia did not attend that meeting, 
which when not under the influence of his minister 
he seemed disposed to favour. Herr von Bismarck's 
first step on coming to power was to secure the sup- 
port of .Russia while he followed his own bent, by 
a policy that was strongly condemned by the rest of 
Europe. In February, 1863, he made a conven- 
tion with the stern master of Poland, that any 
Polish insurgents who might take refuge in Posen 
or other parts of Prussia, should be sent back 
across the frontier into Russian Poland; that is, 
into the hands of the enemy from whom they 
fled. This convention brought much obloquy on 
its author; but he knew well what the alliance of 
Russia was worth, and the result proved that he 
had no cause to fear the hostility of France and 
England. In the Danish question, his predecessors 
left him the opportunity of attacking a weak power, 
and he was not the man to throw away such an 
opportunity. He began by cautiously feeling his 
way with some modest expressions of opinion, 



such as that Denmark was bound in honour to 
fulfil her engagements towards Germany, and that 
she was blameable for having resisted the media- 
tion of England. After the proclamation of the 
13th of March, he joined in the protests of Austria 
against the new Danish projects. When execution 
was threatened by the Federal Diet, Lord Russell 
in alarm suggested to that body, that it would be 
" desirable that nothing should occur to augment 
the already existing dangers and complications of 
Europe." Upon this all the German governments 
hastened to calm the fears of his lordship by the 
allegation that an execution did not mean a war; 
and Herr von Bismarck went so far as to declare 
that " if a war did take place, it would be an 
offensive war on the part of Denmark against 
the Germanic Confederation." 

The situation was, indeed, at that time sufficiently 
perilous for Prussia to necessitate the greatest caution 
on the part of her ministers. England, France, 
and Austria were united on the Polish question, and 
it almost seemed as if a general crusade was prepar- 
ing against Russia and her audacious ally. There 
is now no doubt that the unfortunate declarations 
made by Lords Russell and Palmerston in July, 
1863, which were afterwards appealed to as giving 
Denmark a claim to the armed assistance of Eng- 
land, were the fruit of the general feeling that, in 
any European difficulty, the policy of France and 
England would be identical; and if Prussia had 
then taken any precipitate step in the Danish 
affair, it is pretty certain she would at once 
have received a humiliating check. But Herr 
von Bismarck was too wary to expose himself 
to such a danger. He quietly bided his time, 
expressing himself to foreign powers in ambi- 
guous terms about the duchies, firmly adhering 
to the Russian alliance, and rivalizing with Austria 
for influence in Germany. He had not to wait 
long. The failure of the Polish negotiations pro- 
duced a coolness between France and England, and 
when Lord Russell proposed to the French govern- 
ment, on the 16th of September, a common inter- 
vention in favour of Denmark, he was answered 
with a refusal. Herr von Bismarck now began to 
assume a more decisive attitude, and proposed to 
the Diet that Prussian troops only should be em- 
ployed in the execution which was now imminent. 
But, towards the end of September, the famous 
speech of Lord Russell at Blairgowrie seemed to 
offer a chance of reviving the Anglo-French alii- 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



51 



ance. The despatch declaring that the Czar had 
forfeited his rights to Poland was fully agreed 
to by France; and Herr von Bismarck, with that 
ready adaptation to circumstances which is so 
characteristic of him, immediately proposed, much 
to the disappointment of Germany, a compromise 
with Denmark. The terms of this compromise — 
namely, that Denmark should declare herself ready 
to give satisfaction to the Diet in regard to the 
claim of Holstein and Lauenburg to control their 
own legislation and expenditure of all money raised 
in the duchies, and to accept the mediation of Great 
Britain for the arrangement of the international or 
Schleswig question — were agreed to by Denmark ; 
and all seemed to be going well when Herr von 
Bismarck dropped his plan, and prepared to carry 
out the "execution." This apparently unaccount- 
able conduct was thus explained by those who were 
said to be behind the scenes. The " forfeiture " 
despatch of Lord Russell, which was to have 
consolidated the Anglo-French alliance, never 
reached its destination, but at the earnest repre- 
sentation of Herr von Bismarck, who expressed his 
conviction that Russia would regard it as a casus 
belli, was stopped on its way to St. Petersburg, and 
a meaningless document, without object or conclu- 
sion, was sent in its place. The situation was now 
completely changed. France and England were 
isolated, Prussia had the support of Russia and the 
Confederation, and Austria, though unwillingly, was 
forced by the break-up of the Western alliance to 
join Prussia. Bismarck triumphed on every side, 
and could now give full scope to the audacious 
policy most in accordance with his character and 
abilities. The proposal of the congress, which 
followed close upon the affair of the " forfeiture " 
despatch, strikingly displayed the changes which a 
few months had brought about in the relative posi- 
tions of the European powers. England refused 
the proposal of France, and these two powers, 
which in the summer of that very year had rebuked 
Prussia and Russia for their conduct towards Poland 
and Denmark, now sought the aid of the cabinets 
of Berlin and St. Petersburg for carrying out their 
respective views. After a long negotiation Russia 
adopted the English view, and talked of the "per- 
fect harmony" with which "the four govern- 
ments (i.e., Russia, Austria, Prussia, and England) 
thought and acted." Herr von Bismarck was more 
difficult to manage. He had his policy to carry 
out on the Eider, and was in no hurry to put an 



end to a situation where France and England both 
strove for his favour; he therefore coquetted with 
them both, and satisfied neither, until the matter 
dropped of itself. His "moderate views, - ' as they 
were called by Prince Gortschakoff, however, soon 
changed when the publication of the November 
charter and the death of King Frederick VII. made 
it necessary for him to assume a more active 
attitude. 

The right of succession established by the 
treaty of London now came into force, and under 
the treaty Christian IX. became the new king of 
Denmark and the duchies; but the Confederation 
refused to be bound by the treaty which it had not 
signed, and appointed a committee to inquire into 
the pretensions of the young duke of Augusten- 
burg, who now claimed the sovereignty in Schleswig 
and Holstein. No blame could be attached to him 
for advancing a claim, as he had not joined in his 
father's renunciation; nor could the Confederation 
be bound by a treaty to which it had not adhered, 
and which was in direct opposition to the wishes of 
the German nation. The fault really lay with Aus- 
tria and Prussia, who ought not to have signed the 
treaty of London (a treaty regulating the succession 
in a German federal state) except as representa- 
tives of the Confederation, and with the mediating 
powers, who did not negotiate in this question with 
the Confederation, but with Austria and Prussia. 
These two powers had now determined not to let 
the matter out of their hands. Count Rechberg, 
dreading above all things the democratic tendencies 
of the rest of the minor states of Germany, agreed to 
the views of Herr von Bismarck, and rashly asso- 
ciated himself with Prussian policy in the duchies. 
Both Austria and Prussia held firmly to the treaty of 
London, and both overtly rejected the pretensions 
of Prince Frederick. After the occupation of 
Holstein by federal troops on the 21st of Decem- 
ber, Bismarck openly declared that Prussia could 
not bind herself to any particular line of policy 
in a question, the aspect of which was constantly 
changing; and proposed to the Diet that the 
Austrian and Prussian troops should occupy Schles- 
wig as a guarantee for the performance by Denmark 
of her engagements of 185 1-52. The smaller Ger- 
man states meanwhile organized a strong opposition 
against Prussia, but after fruitless struggles were 
forced to yield her the ascendancy. Bismarck 
marched his troops on Holstein, and became master 
of the situation. On the 16th of January he 



52 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



summoned King Christian to abolish the November 
constitution in two days, and on a hesitating 
response sent the Prussian troops into Schleswig. 
He compelled the recalcitrant middle states to 
comply with his views, and on the 25th February 
Prussia and Austria declared to the Diet that they 
were about to assume the military and civil com- 
mand in the duchies, which had hitherto been 
under the authority of the Confederation, an 
announcement to which no one dared object. 
Bismarck further strengthened his position by 
concluding a convention with Austria, binding 
his government to give her material assistance in 
case her possessions in Italy should be attacked, 
and at the same time consolidated the alliance 
between the three northern courts, by persuading 
Count Rechberg to proclaim a state of siege in 
Galicia, and thus give the final blow to the Polish 
insurrection. Seven days afterwards the troops of 
Austria and Prussia entered Jutland. 

When Denmark was all but overrun, one 
effort more was made to obtain peace, by the 
assembly of plenipotentiaries at a conference in 
London. They met on the 29th of April, and 
after a session of six weeks broke up without com- 
ing to any decision. The only purpose served by 
this diplomatic assemblage was, that it gave Prussia 
and Austria an opportunity of formally declaring 
that the state of war with Denmark absolved them 
from all engagements entered into before the war 
began. The conference also brought into view 
the by-play of the great powers, when the Czar of 
Russia ceded all his family claims on Holstein to 
the duke of Oldenburg, who was put forward as 
a rival to the prince of Augustenburg. The plan 
for making an independent sovereignty of the 
united duchies under one of these princes, was 
quite opposite to Bismarck's scheme of national 
unification, and he was only ready to accede to it 
provided that the nominal sovereign gave up the 
control of the naval and military forces, the principal 
ports, and the projected sea-canal, to Prussia. These 
conditions Augustenburg, the popular candidate 
in the duchies, declined to accept. The course 
of the history has here been somewhat anticipated 
in order to bring the military narrative into a con- 
secutive story. The war now to be described began 
two months before the conference at London, and 
was ended about two months after that confer- 
ence, by the severance of Holstein, Schleswig, and 
Lauenberg from the ancient kingdom of Denmark. 



On Tuesday, 2nd February, 1864, hostilities 
were begun by the Austro-Prussians attacking 
the Danes at Misunde. Misunde, or Mysunde, is 
situated on the narrowest part of the Schlei, just 
before it widens into the large lake which forms 
the natural protection of the town of Schleswig. 
It consists of a group of five or six forts, which com- 
pletes the line of the Dannewerk on the east. The 
Dannewerk, or as the Danes call it, Dannevirke, is 
one of the two strongholds of Schleswig; the other 
being the island of Alsen with its approaches. This 
line of fortification, which is made up of twenty- 
seven forts, runs some thirteen miles in a south- 
westerly direction as far as Hollingsted, a town on 
the river Freene, midway between Frederickstadt, 
on the Eider, and Misunde. Besides the defences 
of the Dannewerk, the Danes had batteries round 
the north bank of the great pond, or lake, made by 
the Schlei between Misunde and Schleswig. The 
Austrians and Prussians, under the command of 
Field-marshal von Wrangel, marched from Kiel, 
by way of Eckenforde, and met with some resist- 
ance from the Danes, under Lieutenant-general 
Gerlach, at the outposts of Misunde. The next 
day the Austrians made an attack at Bustrup, a 
point in the Dannewerk about three miles from 
the town of Schleswig. Xight prevented the 
assailants from reaping the benefit of whatever 
advantage they had over their enemies. It is 
probable that, had daylight lasted, or had they 
known the extent of their success, they might 
have taken the town. Nothing further was done 
on the one side or the other till the 5th February, 
when the Danes evacuated the Dannewerk. The 
abandonment of this stronghold was decided upon 
by the council of war very suddenly. As late as 
ten o'clock in the evening of the day that this step 
was taken, one of the brigadiers, who had placed 
himself at the head of his columns, with the full 
understanding that he was to make to the advanced 
posts at Fredericksburg and Bustrup, received 
orders to change his march to Flensburg. The 
news of this resolution created great dissatisfaction 
among the Danes, both soldiers and people gene- 
rally. The government at Copenhagen so far 
gave way to public opinion, as to recall the com- 
mander-in-chief, General de Meza, and appoint 
Lieutenant-general Gerlach in his place, seemingly 
for no other reason than because, by some accident, 
the latter happened to be absent from the council 
that determined on the evacuation. When the 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



53 



strength of their army, the condition of their 
artillery, and their resources are considered, the 
wisdom of the decision will remain unchal- 
lenged by every one acquainted with the great 
superiority of the German army in numbers and 
artillery. To defend thirteen miles of forts, and 
the unprotected line beyond them to Frederickstadt, 
the Danes had biit 30,000 men. In all the forts 
there was not one rifled gun; and no gun had 
more than 100 charges of powder. The question 
of the expediency of the retreat to Alsen, where 
their defences presented a far more contracted 
front, is not doubtful. Alsen, too, was nearer 
Jutland, and proportionately more inclined to the 
Danish cause. In Schleswig there was the great 
disadvantage of the presence of much unsympa- 
thetic feeling. In some instances the carelessness 
of the Schleswigers for their defenders took the 
more positive form of rendering secret assistance to 
the Austro-Prussians. With this half hostile popu- 
lation around them the Danes could not make any 
movement without the enemy's knowledge. The 
weather, which for five or six days before the 5th 
had been soft and sloppy, on this day changed. A 
boisterous north-east wind set in, bringing frost, 
accompanied with a heavy fall of snow. The roads 
soon became difficult for locomotion. In this 
inclement weather the Danish army set out on its 
march about eleven o'clock at night. No prepara- 
tion had been made for the slipperiness of the roads 
by roughing the horses' shoes. Neither horses nor 
men could keep their feet. The cavalry had to 
dismount and lead their beasts. The artillery had 
to be drawn by the men. The progress of the 
army was soon checked by the fallen horses. Guns, 
waggons, and ambulance vans had soon to be left 
with them, encumbering the way still more. The 
first part of the journey was the most calamitous. 
In nine hours little more than six miles were made. 
Flensburg was not reached till four o'clock the 
next day. They halted here for two hours, and 
then continued their march to Alsen by way of 
Krasan and Gravenstein. The difficulties of the 
preceding night had to be encountered in a more 
aggravated form. At length, after eight and forty 
hours of toiling and suffering, they arrived at their 
destination. That their retreat was not more dis- 
astrous was owing to the comparatively short distance 
they had to traverse. Time was the only element 
wanting to have made this march rival in horrors 
the retreat from Moscow. As it was, many died 



from exposure to the cold and from fatigue. If, 
however, the loss of life was not very great, that 
of materiel was very serious, and was one that 
could be ill afforded. Everything they had to 
abandon fell into the hands of the Austrians. 
Their retreat did not escape the attention of the 
Austro-Prussians, who entered Schleswig about 
five hours after they had left the town, and with- 
out any delay set out after them. The inclemency 
of the weather, which had put such an obstacle in 
the way of the retreat of the Danes, was no less 
unfavourable to their enemies' pursuit. Although 
the Austrians when they started were ten miles 
only in the rear, they did not come up with the 
Danes till Saturday afternoon, the 6th. About 
five miles from Flensburg they came into collision 
with two regiments, the first and eleventh, under 
the command of Colonels Miiller and Beck. The 
Austrians greatly overmatched the Danes in num- 
bers. They had, moreover, with them some 
squadrons of hussars and sixteen cannon ; while 
their opponents had but two field pieces and no 
horse. The Danes offered a brave resistance, 
meeting the cavalry with the bayonet. They had 
to fall back at last, after suffering severe losses, 
especially among their officers. One of the 
companies of the first regiment lost its whole 
staff. This was the only engagement between 
the Austrians and Danes worthy of mention. 
The result of this contest is a sample of the 
fortune that pursued them in every open 
field. Their very resistance insured their defeat. 
To make any stand against their enemy was to 
give him time to gather fresh strength, like 
another Antaeus. As the whole force of the Danish 
army was not thought necessary to defend Alsen, 
4000 men, chiefly cavalry, received orders from 
Copenhagen to march to Fredericia in Jutland. 
Shortly after, the third division, under General 
Wilster, was directed to embark for the same 
town. This division consisted of about 10,000 
men, including two field batteries and half a regi- 
ment of dragoons. Their forces were thus divided 
into two. Their example was followed by the 
Austrians and Prussians, who parted company, 
the former making for Jutland, and the latter 
proceeding to the reduction of the Danish position 
at Dybbol. 

This siege was the greatest event of the war. 
In fact, it was the only place in Schleswig at 
which the Danes made a decided stand. A 



5-1 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



description of the defences of Dybbol will render 
more intelligible the plan of attack which was 
carried out to so successful an issue by the Prus- 
sians. The island of Alsen is separated from the 
continent by a sound about thirteen miles in 
length, and about two or three miles in width 
at its entrance. At Sb'nderborg the width of the 
sound narrows to about 150 yards. Here the 
mainland of Sondered is connected with the island 
by a bridge. On the mainland, beyond the bridge, 
was the Dybbol stronghold, consisting of four 
distinct lines. First, there was the tete du font 
proper, immediately across the water, a narrow 
gorge or defile winding between two hills of 
moderate height, flanked on either side by two 
batteries, and barred by a double range of palisades. 
Beyond that, after an esplanade of about half a 
mile, there was the second line, or Dybbol line 
proper, on Dybbol Hill, consisting of ten forts, 
disposed on a somewhat circular line from No. 1, 
close to the water's edge, on the Vemmingbund to 
No. 10, at a very little distance from the Alsund 
shore. The Dybbol windmill was nearly in the 
middle of this arc, somewhat in the rear of 
forts Nos. 4, 5, 6, and 7, and close to the main 
road leading from Sb'nderborg to Nybbl, Graas- 
ten, and Flensburg. The third line was made 
by the broad skirts and summit of the Arnbjerg, 
by the village of Dybbol, and by the some- 
what broken and uncleared ground of Ragebb'l. 
The fourth line was drawn across two woods, 
called Stenterupskov and Boffel Kobbel, lining the 
above-mentioned road on either side. All these 
four lines stretched out in concentric arcs, and 
had their centre at the Sbnderborg bridges, from 
which they were placed at the respective distance 
of half a mile, one mile, a mile and a half, and two 
miles. About half a mile from the fourth line, on 
the north, was Nybbl, and at the southern was the 
isthmus which joins the little peninsula of Broager- 
land to the Sondered mainland. The second line 
extended for about one and a half mile, and its 
ten forts were mounted with one hundred heavy 
cannon. The Dybbol position, taken altogether, 
was very strong by nature. In 1849 the Danes 
successfully withstood a siege here ; and they had 
great confidence in the result of one in 1864. 
Little or nothing was done this year toward 
strengthening their position. They contented 
themselves with restoring their old works and 
batteries of 1849. In fifteen years, however, a 



revolution had taken place in the art of war, to 
which they had paid no heed. The little pen- 
insula of Broagerland was left unprotected, and 
became the key by which the Prussians opened 
the stronghold. Before the days of rifled guns 
Dybbol was quite safe on this side; but the 
case was different in 1864. The Danes manned 
the first and second lines only, using the third 
and fourth as outposts. Flensburg was the 
headquarters of the Prussian army ; but their 
outposts extended as far as Nybbl on the south, 
and Sattrup on the north. At the southern 
extremity of the Danes' fourth line was the neck 
of the Broager peninsula, which was covered with 
the woods of Stenterup and Boffel above mentioned. 
These woods were, by an unpardonable supineness 
of the Danes, occupied by pickets only. The im- 
portance of the position was seen by the Prussians, 
who during the whole campaign showed themselves 
superior to the Danes in foresight. The Danish 
outposts were driven back, and the peninsula seized 
by the Prussians. The same want of providence 
on the part of the Danes in the case of the village 
of Dybbol, which they had not fortified, stood the 
Prussians in good stead on the 22nd February. On 
this day, coming up by the woods of Stenterup 
Skov and Boffel Kobbel, which they now held, they 
attacked the Danes in great force and drove them 
from Dybbol village. Although at the end of 
the day the Danes succeeded in recovering their 
position, it was only at a great sacrifice of life. 
For some time after this reconnaissance of the 
Prussians there was almost a complete cessation of 
arms. Indeed, the whole war evinced such a list- 
lessness on the part of invaders and defenders, that 
it is difficult at times to believe that either one side 
or the other was in earnest. It was the custom of 
the pickets, when being changed, to send a parting 
shot to the enemy, and this for a long time was the 
extent of the firing on both sides. On one occasion, 
even, the Danes and Prussians were seen snow- 
balling each other. Meanwhile the Austrians had 
made their way towards Fredericia. They drove 
the Danes before them from Gudsb, Taarup, Bred- 
strap, and other places, all across the isthmus of the 
peninsula to Fredericia. This fortress was invested, 
and the towns of Stoutstrup and Erritso occupied 
by their forces. From these places their artillery 
commanded the whole sound of the Little Belt, so 
that all intercourse between Jutland and Alsen had 
to be carried on by the other side of Fiinen. As 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



55 



at Dybbol, no affair of any importance occurred. 
In one or two skirmishes, however, the Danes lost 
rather heavily. At Erritso General Wilster, the 
commander-in-chief at Fredericia, was wounded, 
and at Gudso Captain Tane was surprised by a 
superior force of Austrians, and had to surrender. 
As soon as Fredericia was invested and its garrison 
masked, the same inactivity prevailed as at Dybbol. 
The fires of war blazed out afresh at Dybbol on the 
17th of March. The Prussians had not neglected 
the advantages which the possession of the penin- 
sula of Broagerland gave. They erected batteries 
all along the cliffs that lined the sound. From 
these batteries they could throw shot or shell into 
the town of So'nderborg, and could reach the most 
distant bastion of the Dybbol forts, while they 
themselves were entirely out of the range of the 
Danish guns. Batteries also were built on the 
heights of Ragebb'l, a hill to the right of the Danish 
position. On the morning of the 17th the Prussians 
opened fire on both town and forts. During the 
cannonade they advanced with great force against 
the village of Dybbol and the heights of Arnbjerg. 
Warned by their previous attack on the 22nd 
of February, the Danes had done their best to 
strengthen this position. The churchyard, which 
had a commanding situation, had been fortified, and 
here they entrenched themselves. The defence 
was as obstinate as the attack was violent, and the 
Danes reconquered lost ground by three successive 
charges. They had, however, to give way before 
overwhelming numbers, and as the day closed the 
Prussians remained masters of the field. The 
heights of Arnbjerg, as was explained above, closed 
in the third line of the defensive works of Dybbol. 
It is on the left of the road, and about the same 
distance from the Danish bastions as Dybbol. The 
Danes disputed the possession of this hill with 
great gallantry. It was taken and retaken, again 
and again ; but the victory in the end remained 
with the Prussians. With the loss of Arnbjerg 
the doom of Alsen was sounded, the first knell of 
which might have been heard when the Prussians 
ivere allowed to occupy the Broagerland peninsula. 
As a strategic position it was of more importance 
than the possession of the village ; for from the 
top the whole line of forts could be swept by the 
Prussian fire with ease. 

An attempt was made next day by the Danes to 
recover their lost ground ; but the value of their late 
acquisitions was too well recognized by the Prussians 



for them to be taken unprepared, and the Danes 
were repulsed. The Danes made no other attempt 
to disturb the Prussians in their possessions by 
assault ; but confined themselves to keeping up 
an incessant firing, to prevent the erection of any 
batteries. Their guns, however, did not delay their 
enemies, who proceeded steadily with the work, 
using field artillery till they mounted their heavy 
rifled ordnance. 

As soon as these guns were placed in position, 
they began a cannonade which they kept up day 
after day with great precision and effect. 

On the 28th March, under cover of a fire from 
all their batteries, the Prussians made an assault on 
the Danish lines. Their chief efforts were directed 
against the bastions on the extreme left, which 
they thought had been silenced by the previous 
day's firing. The Danes had, however, repaired 
then works, and remounted their guns, which, 
though smooth bores, were of a very heavy calibre, 
and made great havoc among the Prussian infantry. 
An iron-clad of the Danes, the Rolf-Krake, steamed 
into the Vemmingbund Bay, and by keeping under 
the cliffs of Broagerland succeeded in escaping the 
guns of the Prussian batteries. When she was in 
range, she opened a most destructive fire upon the 
flank of the Prussians, who were then obliged to 
make a precipitate retreat. 

After this repulse the Prussians renewed their 
former operations, and kept up an incessant storm 
of shot and shell against the Danish batteries. 
Bastion after bastion was shattered and the guns 
dismounted, which the Danes in the lulls of the 
firing endeavoured, with only partial success, to 
remount. The Prussians were not merely content 
with this employment of their guns, but turned 
them against the town of So'nderborg. This they 
bombarded till two-thirds were either burnt or 
levelled to the ground. Nor did the town only 
suffer, but outlying farmhouses and buildings 
shared its misfortunes. Nothing was respected that 
was in the range of the Prussian guns. Besides 
the destruction of private property, as no notice 
had been given to the inhabitants to quit the town, 
a serious loss of life occurred amongst them. It is 
difficult to discover what object the Prussians had 
in thus disregarding what has become almost an 
article of war — the respect due to an unarmed town. 
Even war has not escaped the influence of civiliza- 
tion, but has grown merciful, in the case of non- 
combatants and wounded soldiers, to an extent 



56 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



perhaps hardly anticipated in former times. The 
horrors of war were, however, in 1864, brought 
bitterly home to the defenceless inhabitants of 
Sb'nderborg by the Prussians. 

The condition of the Dybbol forts had now got 
so desperate, that it was not without murmurs that 
the Danish soldiers marched to their appointed 
posts. Nor were their complaints without reason. 
The hopelessness of holding out any longer was 
seen by every one in Alsen ; but orders had come 
from the government at Copenhagen, that Dybbol 
was to be held at all costs ; and the Danes had 
no other course open to them than to seek what 
shelter their fast-falling ramparts gave them from 
the enemy's shot and shell. They could them- 
selves do no harm to the Prussians, yet even in 
their batteries their numbers were diminished by 
a hundred a day. 

At length the day came that was to end the 
sufferings and toil of the besieged and besiegers. 
On the 18th of April the Prussians swarmed up 
against Dybbol, accompanied by a furious cannon- 
ade from their whole line of batteries, to which the 
Danes returned what answer their few remaining 
guns enabled them to make. The ironclad Rolf- 
Krake which had done such service on the occasion 
of the previous assault of the Prussians, again steamed 
into the Vemmingbund Bay. But this time the 
ill-fortune of her owners followed her. As she 
was passing the Prussian batteries she was struck 
by two shells. Her deck, which was of one and a 
half inch plate only, was broken through. Several 
men were killed, and so much damage done, that 
she was compelled to return to her anchorage in 
Hdrup Hav. 

The Danes made every resistance in their power, 
but all was useless. They were borne down by the 
superior numbers of the Prussians from fort to fort ; 
till step by step they were thrust beyond their 
defences, and over the sound into Alsen. Here 
they gained a little breathing time by destroying 
the bridges they had crossed. Their losses in 
killed and wounded were very serious ; and great 
numbers were left prisoners in the hands of the 
Prussians. Certainly less than half the army 
escaped into Alsen. Among the many officers 
that fell in this engagement was gallant General 
du Plat. He was at the rear of his retreating 
columns, encouraging and cheering on his men, 
when he was struck down by several rifle bullets. 
The last words he uttered as he fell were: " Hold 



out, my friends ! Hold out for God and Denmark " ! 
The Prussians paid the respect due to his bravery, 
and sent his body, with those of several other 
officers, to the Danes for burial. On his head two 
wreaths of laurel were placed by Prince Frede- 
rick Charles and Marshal Wrangel; a token of the 
high estimation in which they held his heroic 
resistance. The Prussian loss was comparatively 
slight. 

With the fall of Dybbol the cause of the Danes 
in Schleswig was lost. The whole province was 
in the undisturbed possession of the Austro-Prus- 
sians; and to fill up the measure of Danish reverses, 
shortly after the fortress of Fredericia had to be 
evacuated and abandoned to the Austrians. There 
was nothing now to prevent the Austrians from 
overrunning the whole Cimbrian Peninsula from 
end to end. 

To console them in their defeat, the Danes had 
the consciousness of having done their best to keep 
what they considered, rightfully or wrongfully, as 
their lawful possession, and of having succumbed 
only to superior numbers. 

Whatever differences of opinion there may be on 
the questions involved in the war, no side will 
hesitate to give the Danes due meed of praise for 
the manful stand they made in a struggle in which 
they were over-matched. 

Meanwhile it was at length resolved at the con- 
ference, that hostilities should be suspended by land 
and sea from the 12th of May to the 12th of June, 
Denmark raising her blockades ; and at the sitting 
of the 2nd June this armistice was prolonged, after 
some difficulty, until the 26th of June. The con- 
ference terminated on the 22nd of June, all the 
belligerents rejecting the mediatory proposals of 
Great Britain, and at the end of the month hostili- 
ties were renewed. 

On the 29th the Prussians crossed over to Alsen 
soon after midnight in considerable force, and 
landed on the opposite shore without much opposi- 
tion. The Danish troops in the island soon after- 
wards came up; but after a sharp engagement they 
were compelled to retreat with a loss in killed and 
wounded of between 2500 and 3000 men. The 
ironclad Danish man-of-war, Rolf-Krake, lay in 
Augustenburg Bay, and attempted to prevent the 
crossing of the enemy; but she was met by such a 
concentrated fire from the Prussian batteries, that 
she was compelled to retire and seek shelter behind 
an intervening promontory. The Prussians were 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



57 



very proud of their victory, and an official account 
of the capture of Alsen, which appeared in Berlin, 
stated that the difficulties of this undertaking were 
very considerable, and apparent even to an unprac- 
tised eye. History contains few examples of the 
passage of a river in front of the enemy. Here 
it was requisite to cross an arm of the sea, whose 
width, depth, and rapid current prevented the 
erection of a bridge, and whose hostile shore 
bristled with numerous well-armed batteries and 
intrenchments. It was necessary to expose the 
troops to a foreign element in a number of slight 
boats, not only threatened by wind and weather, 
but by many hostile war ships commanding the 
sea, the ironclad vessels in particular capable of 
inflicting serious losses. Even if the landing of 
the first battalion succeeded, it was necessary to be 
prepared for encountering a superior enemy who, 
long since expecting this attack, would have had 
time enough, during the suspension of arms, to 
reorganize his troops and make every preparation 
for energetically repulsing all attempts to land. 
When the boats were about 200 yards distant from 
the hostile shore, the first shots of the enemy's 
outposts blazed at them through the twilight. 
The forces in the boats returned the fire, and 
replied to the first hail of grape from the enemy's 
batteries with a thundering hurrah. Springing 
out of the boats, and wading through the shallows, 
the brave Brandenburgers rapidly gained the oppo- 
site bank, stormed the hostile batteries, and drove 
the enemy back into the Fohlen-koppel wood, not- 
withstanding his desperate attempts to hold his 
rifle pits. The capture of Alsen and abandonment 
of Fredericia decided the issue of the struggle, 
and Denmark, isolated as she was in the un- 
equal war, found herself compelled to yield and 
consent to peace. 

But her enemies were not at perfect peace 
among themselves. In the middle of July an 
ominous quarrel arose at Rendsburg in Schleswig 
between some Prussian soldiers on the one hand, 
and some Saxon and Hanoverian soldiers on the 
other. Much bad feeling had already existed 
between the Federal and Prussian troops, and 
the result of the squabble was, that a strong 
Prussian force was marched into Rendsburg, and 
Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia, acting upon 
orders from Berlin, took military possession of 
the place. General von Hake, who commanded 
the Saxons, protested against this as an unwar- 



ranted act of usurpation, saying that it was im- 
possible for him to consent to the occupation of 
Rendsburg by Prussian troops, but also clearly out 
of his power, independent of other important rea- 
sons, to think of offering military opposition with 
a weak garrison of four companies. He declared, 
therefore, that he should withdraw for the present 
the Saxon troops from Rendsburg, to avoid a 
conflict. This affair caused much ill blood 
against Prussia in Saxony and the minor states 
of Germany, but in the end good sense prevailed, 
and possibly a feeling that Prussia was leading 
them to unity and greatness induced submission 
to her lead. 

Negotiations for peace took place at Vienna 
between the plenipotentiaries of Austria, Prussia, 
and Denmark, for the purpose of settling the pre- 
liminaries between those powers; and at last, on 
the 1st of August, they were signed by the respec- 
tive parties, and were as follows: — 1. His Majesty 
the king of Denmark renounces all his rights 
to the duchies of Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauen- 
burg, in favour of their Majesties the king of 
Prussia and the emperor of Austria, engaging to 
recognize the arrangements their said Majesties 
shall make in respect of those duchies. 2. The 
cession of the duchy of Schleswig comprehends 
all the islands belonging to that duchy, as well 
as the territory situated upon the mainland. To 
simplify the boundary question, and put an end to 
the inconveniences resulting from the portion of 
Jutland territory situated within Schleswig, his 
Majesty the king of Denmark cedes to their Majes- 
ties the king of Prussia and the emperor of Austria 
the Jutland possessions situated to the south of the 
frontier line of the district of Ribe, laid down on the 
maps. On the other hand, their Majesties the king 
of Prussia and the emperor of Austria consent that 
an equivalent portion of Schleswig, comprising, 
in addition to the island of Arroe, the territories 
connecting the above-mentioned district of Ribe 
with the remainder of Jutland, and rectifying the 
frontier line between Jutland and Schleswig from 
the side of Colding, shall be detached from the 
duchy of Schleswig and incorporated in the king- 
dom of Denmark. The island of Arroe will not 
make part of the compensation by reason of its 
geographical extent. The details of the demarca- 
tion of the frontiers shall be settled by the defini- 
tive treaty of peace. 3. The debts contracted 
either by Denmark or any of the duchies, to remain 



58 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



the charge of each country. All war expenses of 
the allied powers to be paid by the duchies. 

A protocol was at the same time signed respect- 
ing the terms and duration of the armistice. This 
provided that there should be a complete sus- 
pension of hostilities by land and sea, until the 
conclusion of the peace. The king of Denmark 
engaged to raise the blockade of the German ports, 
and the king of Prussia and the emperor of Aus- 
tria, while maintaining the occupation of Jutland, 
under the existing conditions of the itti-possiiletis, 
declared themselves ready to keep in that country 
no larger number of troops than their majesties 
might judge necessary, according to purely mili- 
tary considerations. A treaty of peace in accord- 
ance with the above preliminaries was signed at 
Vienna on the 1st of October, 1864. The rati- 
fication of the treaty was followed by a sharp 
correspondence between the Prussian minister and 
the ministers of foreign powers, in which the 
English minister especially indulged in splenetic 
observations, which may have been deserved, but 
were of no use to any person or to any cause. 
The game to be played out was only begun, and 
the mighty task which Herr von Bismarck had 
undertaken was to be accomplished by steps more 
arduous, if not so unscrupulous, as this conquest 
of the Elbe duchies. 

In a history of the Seven Weeks' War of 1866, 
it has been observed on this subject, that when, 
in the first instance, the Germanic Confederation 
undertook the Danish war, Prussia was not suffi- 
ciently confident in her strength to set aside, with 
her own hand alone, the decrees of the Diet. To 
have done so would have raised a storm against 
her, against which she had no reason to suppose 
that she could successfully bear up. England was 
excited, and the warlike people of that country 
eager to rush to arms in the cause of the father 
of the young princess of Wales. France was dis- 
contented with the refusal of the English cabinet 
to join her proposed congress, but might have 
accepted a balm for her wounded pride in a free 
permission to push her frontier up to the Rhine. 
Austria would have opposed the aggrandizement of 
Prussia, and all Germany would at that time have 
supported the great power of the south in the battle 
for the liberation of Holstcin from the supremacy of 
the Hohenzollerns, as eagerly as from that of the 
House of Denmark. The efforts made for the inde- 
pendence of Holstcin, which could not be opposed 



by open force, had to be thwarted by stratagem. 
Prussia sought the alliance of Austria with a 
proposal that those two great powers should con- 
stitute themselves the executors of the Federal 
decree, in order to put aside the troops of the 
minor states. Austria agreed, and rues at this 
hour the signature of that convention. Yet she 
had much cause of excuse. To allow Prussia to 
step forward alone as the champion of German 
national feeling, would have been for Austria to 
resign for ever into the hands of her rival the 
supremacy of Germany. Old traditions, chivalrous 
feeling, and inherited memories caused Austrians 
to look upon their emperor as the head of Germany, 
the modern representative of the elected holder of 
the crown and sceptre of the Holy Roman Empire. 
Prussia was approaching that supremacy with 
gigantic strides. Austria was already reduced to 
the position of being the advocate of German 
division and of small states, purely because amal- 
gamation and union would have drawn the scattered 
particles not towards herself, but within the boun- 
daries of her northern neighbour. To permit 
Prussia to act alone in the matter of the Elbe 
duchies, would have been to see her surely obtain 
important territorial aggrandizement, and also to 
lose the opportunity of creating another indepen- 
dent minor German state, which, if not a source 
of strength to Austria, might prove an obstacle 
in the path of Prussia. 

The war against Denmark was undertaken. The 
Danes, terribly inferior in numbers, organization, 
equipment, armament, and wealth, after a most 
gallant resistance lost their last strongholds; while 
the Western powers, which had encouraged the 
cabinet of Copenhagen in the delusion that other 
soldiers than Danes woidd be opposed to the 
German invaders of Schleswig, calmly looked on. 
The Danish war terminated in the treaty signed 
at Vienna in October, 1864; and the duchies ol 
Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg were handed 
over to the sovereigns of Austria and Prussia. 
It is noteworthy, says Sir Alexander Malet, that 
before the invasion of the duchies no precise 
stipulations had taken place between Austria 
and Prussia as to the disposal of the conquests 
which they might safely reckon upon making. 
This was a grave fault on the part of Austria, 
and most probably, continues Sir Alexander, a 
calculated omission on the side of her Prussian 
ally. Though the condominate rights of the two 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



59 



sovereigns in whose favour the cession of terri- 
tory was made were equal, the military forces left 
by each for its occupation differed in strength. 
Of Prussians there remained eighteen battalions 
of infantry to five battalions of the Austrians, 
eighteen squadrons of cavalry to two of theirs, 
and three batteries of artillery to one of theirs. 
After the military occupation and a provisional 
government were settled the popular will was 
consulted, in a hasty superficial way, as to the 
future government of the land. At the public 
meetings held in different parts of Holstein, the 
generally expressed wish of the population was 
in favour of a union with the Germanic Con- 
federation, under the sovereignty of the prince 
of Augustenburg. A small fraction, however, of 
landed proprietors, led by Baron Scheel Plessen, 
put forward the wish for annexation to Prussia, 
which was met by many vehement declarations of 
a contrary opinion. Against these demonstrations 
the Prussian government acted in a manner that 
showed she would not suffer any overt assertion 
of independence. During a debate on the subject 
in the Prussian Chamber, Herr von Bismarck said 
that Kiel, and indeed the entire duchies, were 
owned by Prussia. True, they were owned in 
common with the Kaiser; but the share Prussia 
had in the property would never be abandoned 
except on condition of Kiel harbour being handed 
over to her for good. This port was ardently 
coveted as a nursery for the German navy which 
would grow out of the Prussian fleet, by develop- 
ing the maritime resources of the other states of 
northern Germany. On a similar occasion the 
minister of state replied in remarkable words to 
the reproaches of the public press, and of the 
Chamber of Deputies, who assailed the government 
for having formed an alliance with Austria. " On 
this question the future will throw a clearer light. 
Any other course of policy would have made the 
late war a war between the Federal Diet and Den- 
mark. The former would have intrusted to us 
the conduct of the war, but would not have taken 
into consideration our plans for the organization 
of the duchies, as does Austria who is friendly to 
us. ... I am bound," he said in conclusion, 
" to limit myself to these statements, on account of 
the publicity which will be given to my speech." 
This was spoken in January, 1865, when with all 
his extreme candour the speaker had things in his 
mind which Austria, however " friendly to us," 



would have learned with dismay — things upon 
which a future of not much more than a year 
threw a terribly clear light. 

A new complexion was ostentatiously given to 
the co-possession in the month of June, when 
Herr Wagner, during a discussion in the Chamber 
at Berlin oh the bill for defraying the expenses 
of the late war, moved an amendment to the 
effect, " that the government be requested to 
endeavour to bring about the annexation of the 
duchies to Prussia, even by indemnifying, if 
necessary, any claimant to their possession." The 
words -of the prime minister, in reply, were 
significant. " The programme for the solution 
of the question of the duchies," he said, "has 
been completely carried out, excepting the installa- 
tion of the prince of Augustenburg as duke of 
Schleswig-Holstein. This can take place any 
day upon the prince proving his hereditary right 
to the duchies, which up to the present time he 
has failed to do. In a conversation with me last 
year, his Highness rejected the moderate demands 
of Prussia, and expressed himself as follows: — 
' Why did you come to the duchies? We did 
not call you. Matters would have been settled 
without Prussia.' Annexation to Prussia is the 
best thing for Schleswig-Holstein ; but there is no 
prospect of its accomplishment, on account of the 
large debts for which it would be necessary for 
Prussia to render herself liable. After the refusal 
of our moderate demands by the prince of Augus- 
tenburg, we shall be justified in subsequently in- 
creasing them." On another occasion the minister 
declared again and again, that nothing would be 
abated of the claims which Prussia had on the 
duchies she had rescued for Germany from Den- 
mark. He professed not to grudge them their 
duke, nor to trouble himself about any democratic 
institutions they might be tempted to establish; 
but it was his duty, he said, to prevent a third 
Schleswig-Holstein campaign, and to arrange 
matters in a way which should not expose him to 
the necessity of taking Dybbol again. As to the 
concessions made by the duke of Augustenburg, 
they were dependent on the sanction of the Schles- 
wig-Holstein Estates, even supposing them to be 
sufficient for Prussian purposes. In reality, no 
concessions whatever had been made, and nothing 
remained for Prussia to do but effect an arrange- 
ment with the Kaiser on the one hand, and the 
future duke on the other; if indeed the title of a 



60 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



single person to the whole of the duchies could 
ever be established. It was growing very clear 
that neither duke nor Kaiser would stand in the 
way of Prussian claims while Prussia had the 
force to prevent it. No votes of the Schleswig- 
Holstein Estates, no proclamations of the pretenders, 
would drive Prussia from the duchies.' She would 
stick to her programme, and defend its justice and 
necessity to her very last man. The people of 
Prussia and the Chamber at Berlin were no less 
loath than the minister to give up their hold on 
the fair prize within their grasp. They too wanted 
to place Germany in a defensible condition by sea, 
and to avoid the necessity of another attack upon 
the Dybbb'l fortifications. So eager were the 
Chambers for annexation, that Bismarck endea- 
voured to wring a money vote from them, by 
promising that Kiel should become Prussian, adding, 
" If you doubt our right to it, make a condition 
with us, and say, " No Kiel, no money." If the 
pretenders could prove no better title to the duke- 
dom than the right of conquest which Prussia 
claimed, their pretensions would be disregarded, 
and no one should contest the right of the sove- 
reigns of Prussia and Austria to make an arrange- 
ment between themselves for the disposal of the 
spoil. Such an arrangement, as will be presently 
seen, was ere long brought to pass. 

Meanwhile co-possession soon disturbed the har- 
mony that seemed to exist between the two great 
German powers. The double government under an 
Austrian and Prussian commissioner offered endless 
opportunities for the old rivalry between the two 
countries to break out; and the manifest desire of 
the Prussians to annex the convenient territory 
served to aggravate the natural jealousy of their 
ally, who strove to countermine the project by 
secretly but efficaciously supporting the Augus- 
tenburg party. The estrangement between the two 
powers greatly increased when, on the announce- 
ment of the September convention concluded 
between Italy and France, the Prussian minister 
refused to acknowledge Austria's claim for assist- 
ance founded on promises made during the Danish 
war. Herr von Bismarck said that their agree- 
ment was to assist Austria in case her Italian pos- 
sessions were attacked in consequence of her share 
in the Danish war, not otherwise, and that such 
an engagement could in no way apply to the 
September convention. The Austrian govern- 
ment felt itself duped, and Count Rechberg, the 



prime minister, resigned office. The ieeling 
between the two nations increased in soreness, and 
opportunities were sought for breaking off the 
now detested alliance. Although several disputes 
led them to the very verge of a rupture, war was 
avoided, more especially by Austria, whose finances 
were so much crippled, and her various subjects so 
discontented, that she saw how a war at that time 
would inevitably have led her to bankruptcy and 
dismemberment. The middle states were willing to 
help her, but their assistance had very little military 
or political value, and their opposition to Prussia 
in the Diet only served to whet the resolution of 
Herr von Bismarck to accomplish in his own good 
time a very radical reformation both of the Diet 
and of the Confederation it proposed to represent. 

A commission of crown lawyers was appointed 
by the two powers to examine into the merits 
of the claims severally made to sovereign power 
in the duchies by the king of Denmark, the duke 
of Augustenburg — the popular candidate, espe- 
cially in Holstein, who would certainly have been 
elected duke had the matter been decided by a 
plebiscitum — and the duke of Oldenburg. Their 
decision was, that King Christian IX. was by right 
of succession the undoubted possessor, and that 
from him the duchies had passed by right of con- 
quest to the victors in the war — the emperor of 
Austria and the king of Prussia. The three 
claimants being thus swept out of the way, the 
scheme of annexation was further developed by a 
treaty between the conquerors regulating a division 
of the spoil. 

On the 14th of August, 1865, this important 
convention was signed at Gastein by Herr von 
Bismarck and Count Blome; and it was afterwards 
signed at Salzburg by the king of Prussia and 
the emperor of Austria. The convention began 
by stating that " their Majesties the king of Prussia 
and the emperor of Austria, having become con- 
vinced that the co-dominion hitherto existing in 
the countries ceded by Denmark, through the 
treaty of peace of the 30th of October, 1864, leads 
to inconveniences which endanger the good un- 
derstanding between their governments, and also 
the interests of the duchies; their Majesties have, 
therefore, come to the determination no longer to 
exercise in common the rights accruing to them 
from the third article of the above-mentioned 
treaty, but to divide geographically the exercise 
of the same until further agreement." 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



61 



The following articles were then agreed upon : — 

Article I. — The exercise of the rights jointly 
acquired by the high contracting parties, through 
the Vienna treaty of peace of the 30th of October, 
1864, will, without prejudice to the continuance of 
these rights of both powers to the whole of both 
duchies, be transferred as regards the duchy of 
Schleswig to his Majesty the king of Prussia, and 
as regards the duchy of Holstein to his Majesty 
the emperor of Austria. 

Article II. — The high contracting powers will 
propose in the Federal Diet the establishment of a 
German fleet, and the appointment for that purpose 
of the harbour of Kiel as a federal harbour. Until 
the execution of the Diet's resolutions referring 
thereto, the war-vessels of both powers will use 
this port, and the command and police of the 
same will be exercised by Prussia. Prussia is 
authorized not only to construct the necessary 
fortifications for the defence of the entrance 
opposite Friedrichsort, but also to erect marine 
establishments corresponding with the object of 
the military port upon the Holstein shore of the 
bay. These fortifications and establishments are 
also placed under Prussian command, and the 
requisite Prussian naval troops and men for their 
garrison and guard may be quartered in Kiel and 
the neighbourhood. 

Article III. — The high contracting parties will 
propose at Frankfort to raise Eendsburg into a 
German federal fortress. Until the settlement by 
the Diet of the garrison relations of this fortress, 
its garrison will consist of Prussian and Austrian 
troops, with the command alternating annually 
upon the 1st of July. 

Article IV. — During the continuance of the 
division agreed upon by Art. I. of the present 
convention, the Prussian government will retain 
two military roads through Holstein; one from 
Lubeck to Kiel, the other from Hamburg to 
Rendsburg. The more detailed regulations re- 
specting the halting places for the troops, and also 
respecting their transport and maintenance, will 
be settled as early as possible by a special con- 
vention. Until this takes place, the existing 
regulations for Prussian halting places on the 
roads through Hanover will be in force. 

Article V. — The Prussian government retains 
control over a telegraph line for communica- 
tion with Kiel and Eendsburg, and the right to 
send Prussian post vans with Prussian officials 



over both routes through the duchy of Hol- 
stein. Inasmuch as the construction of a railway 
direct from Lubeck through Kiel to the Schles- 
wig frontier is not yet assured, the concession for 
that object for the Holstein territory will be given 
at the request of Prussia upon the usual terms, 
without Prussia making any claim to rights of 
sovereignty with respect to the line. 

Article VI — The high contracting parties are 
both agreed that the duchies shall join the Zoll- 
verein. Until this takes place, or until some further 
understanding, the system hitherto in vogue, and 
including both duchies, shall remain in force, with 
equal partition of the revenues. In case it should 
appear advisable to the Prussian government, 
pending the duration of the division agreed upon 
in Art. I. of this present treaty, to open nego- 
tiations with respect to the accession of the 
duchies to the Zollverein, his Majesty the em- 
peror of Austria is ready to empower the repre- 
sentatives of the duchy of Holstein to take part in 
such negotiations. 

Article VII — Prussia is authorized to carry 
through Holstein territory the German Ocean and 
Baltic Canal, to be constructed according to the 
results of the technical examinations directed by 
the king's government. So far as this may be the 
case, Prussia shall have the right of determining the 
direction and dimensions of the canal ; of acquiring 
the plots of ground requisite for its site, by way 
of pre-emption in exchange for their value; of 
directing the construction; of exercising super- 
vision over the canal, and its being kept in repair; 
and of giving assent to all orders and regulations 
affecting the same. No other transit dues or tolls 
upon ships and cargo shall be levied throughout 
the whole of the canal than the navigation duty, 
to be imposed by Prussia equally upon the ships 
of all nations for the use of the passage. 

Article VIII — No alteration is made by this 
present convention in the arrangements of the 
Vienna peace treaty of October 30, 1864, with 
regard to the financial obligations to be undertaken 
by the duchies, as well towards Denmark as towards 
Austria and Prussia, save that the duchy of 
Lauenburg shall be released from all duty of 
contribution to the expenses of the war. The 
division of these obligations between the duchies 
of Holstein and Schleswig shall be based upon a 
standard of population. 

Article IX. — His Majesty the emperor of Aus- 



02 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



tria makes over the rights acquired by the 
above cited Vienna peace treaty to the duchy of 
Lauenburg to his Majesty the king of Prussia, in 
exchange for which the Prussian government binds 
itself to pay to the Austrian government the sum 
of 2,500,000 Danish dollars, payable at Berlin in 
Prussian silver coin, four weeks after the confirma- 
tion of this present convention by their Majesties 
the king of Prussia and the emperor of Austria. 

Article X. — The execution of the above agreed 
division of the co-dominion shall commence as 
early as possible after the approval of this conven- 
tion by their Majesties the king of Prussia and the 
emperor of Austria, and be terminated at latest by 
the 15th of September. The command-in-chief, 
hitherto existing in common, shall, after the com- 
pleted evacuation of Holstein by the Prussian, and 
of Schleswig by the Austrian troops, be dissolved, 
and at latest by the 15th of September. 

It will be seen through all the specious wording 
of the treaty, that Austria had not the best of the 
bargain, and that Prussia derived immense advan- 
tage from her purchase of the imperial rights in 
Lauenburg for two million and a half dollars in 
silver, money down. The frugal management of 
her finances, which kept ready cash in the treasury, 
for good investments, was never more signally re- 
warded. The possession of Lauenburg was like 
the thin end of the wedge, opening the way to 
further acquisitions of territory. Great was the 
anger of the other European cabinets when the 
Gastein convention became known, and another 
proof was given that all the learned arguing ex- 
hibited at the London conference was so much 
breath thrown away. It is extremely disagree- 
able to statesmen, as to other men, to have their 
cherished ideas and traditions summarily and un- 
ceremoniously overthrown. Lord Russell wrote 
to British diplomatic agents abroad a severe 
letter, in which, among other things, he said, " All 
rights, old or new, whether based upon a solemn 
agreement between sovereigns, or on the clear and 
precise expression of the popular will, have been 
trodden under foot by the Gastein convention, and 
the authority of force is the sole power which 
has been consulted and recognized. Violence and 
conquest, such are the only bases upon which the 
dividing powers have established their convention." 

M. Drouyn de Lhuys, the French minister for 
Foreign Affairs, was even more cutting in his tone. 
" Upon what principle," he asked, " does the 



Austro-Prussian combination rest ? We regret to 
find no other foundation for it than force, no other 
justification for it than the reciprocal convenience 
of the co-partners. This is a mode of dealing to 
which the Europe of to-day has become unaccus- 
tomed, and precedents for it must be sought for in 
the darkest ages of history. Violence and con- 
quest pervert the notion of right, and the con- 
science of nations. Substituted for the principles 
which govern modern society, they are an element 
of trouble and dissolution, and can only overthrow 
the past without solidly building up anything 
new." But though the English fleet was recalled 
from the Mediterranean, to manoeuvre, by way of 
menace, with the French fleet at Cherbourg, the 
great consolidator, Herr von Bismarck, held steadily 
on his way, and, for all these marks of discontent, 
firmly resolved to build up something very new 
and very solid — a united German Fatherland. 

The plans of the Prussian premier were ripen- 
ing ; a project he had formed for making an alli- 
ance with Italy, at once the oldest and most recent 
foe of the Kaiser, was becoming feasible. Friend- 
ship with the Emperor Napoleon was also being 
sedulously and successfully cultivated. But above 
all, the re-organization of the Prussian army, which, 
since its delects became apparent in 1859, had been 
proceeding under the able direction of General von 
Eoon, was tolerably complete. This indispensable 
task had been an arduous one, accomplished in 
opposition to the repeated decision of the Chamber 
of Deputies, who on this point were in a state of 
chronic variance with the king and his minister 
session after session. 

It is not a little remarkable that the popular 
constitution of the Prussian army, that renders 
it now so formidable to France, should derive 
its origin from the arbitrary conditions of peace 
exacted by the French emperor, Napoleon I., after 
the battle of Jena. Baron Scharnhorst, says Ali- 
son, contrived to elude'the hard conditions imposed 
on Prussia in the treaty forced upon it by Napoleon 
in 1806. One condition Avas to the effect that she 
must have only 40,000 men under arms, a condi- 
tion which was kept to the letter, but evaded in 
the principle by retaining the soldiers only three 
years with their colours, and training thereby to 
the use of arms triple the number at any one tune 
present with the standards. It was this admirable 
system, gradually adopted in other German state?. 
which was the main cause of the successful resur- 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



G3 



rcction of Prussia in 1813, and the glorious stand 
she then made on behalf of the liberties of Europe. 
Everywhere the whole male inhabitants, without 
distinction of social position, between eighteen and 
twenty years of age, were liable to serve in the 
ranks of the regular army, in which they did duty 
for three years. They then retired into pacific 
life, to make way for others, who had to go 
through the same system of military training and 
discipline, and dismissal. Thus the whole male 
population was trained to the use of arms, an 
admirable system for purposes of defence and 
under a wise and beneficent government, but ter- 
rible to bad rulers in times of commotion and 
revolution. During the convulsions of 1848-49, 
it was a common saying in Germany that the sove- 
reigns must be overthrown, for their enemies were 
old soldiers, and their defenders young recruits. 

The organization of this army, which will be 
fully treated of in the second part of this work, 
underwent considerable changes in 1860 and the 
following years. These changes made the standing 
army as large in peace as it would have been 
before with the addition of the whole first call 
of landwehr. They were very unpopular changes 
nevertheless, and for six successive years en- 
countered the firm remonstrance of the Chamber 
of Deputies, while the Upper House as steadily 
applauded and supported them. The popular 
party failed to shake the position which had been 
taken up by the cabinet, and their efforts had 
little other effect than to hurry on the foreign 
policy of the government to the rupture with 
Austria, for which the transformation of the army 
had been expressly made. 

The Kaiser's vain attempt in 1863 to create a 
German Parliament, prince-governed and ready to 
prolong his Imperial Majesty's presidency, taught 
the bold Prussian minister that the time for action 
was drawing near, and made him determine to 
have his instruments of war ready and well in hand. 
In the Schleswig-Holstein campaign, Prussia, by a 
bold spring, took the lead in action against Den- 
mark, and placed Austria in the secondary position 
of a half-willing ally. At the same time the Bund 
was made to see its own impotence by the joint 
occupation of the duchies by the two powers, in 
spite of the decrees of the Diet. Austria was 
forced from one concession to another, and yet 
Prussia, while degrading her by policy, feigned just 
so much unwillingness to quarrel as might avoid 



giving pretext for foreign interference, or an excuse 
for the Kaiser to arm. 

By the year 1866 the military system of 1859 
was fairly complete in all its parts. The active 
forces were complete in their cadres ; the reserve 
lists full of trained men ; and the whole could 
be made ready for the field at less than a month's 
notice. The officers were entirely devoted to the 
crown, and the power of discipline was relied on 
for carrying the mass as boldly forward through 
a campaign as though the whole nation had gone 
to war. The needle gun gave evidence of its 
enormous power in the Danish war, though its first 
employment had been against the Baden insurgents 
in 1849. It was generally thought that its use 
would tend to so much waste of ammunition as to 
render it unavailable for general use. By careful 
instruction, however, and a distribution of small- 
arm reserves of ammunition, the danger of exhaust- 
ing the supply before an action is concluded has 
been avoided, and observers can only wonder at 
the supineness of other governments and military 
chiefs who waited to see Prussia gain over Austria 
the most astounding victories, before they took 
steps to provide their own soldiers with some 
weapon as easily managed and as destructive as 
the breech-loader. 

It has just been intimated that the resolution 
to attempt the forcible expulsion of Austria from 
the Confederation, took date in Herr von Bismarck's 
mind from the meeting of the sovereigns in 
Frankfort, in 1863. Before that, however, in 
1862, while exercising for a brief period the func- 
tions of Prussian representative in Paris, there is 
reason to believe that he had found occasion to 
broach his views on German affairs to the Emperor 
Napoleon. This at least is the opinion of Sir 
Alexander Malet, an old diplomatist himself, who 
was personally acquainted with the Prussian 
and with many other German ministers at the 
Frankfort Diet. The same writer goes on to 
say that Bismarck had taken special care to make 
Prussian policy agreeable to France, in the matter 
of the treaty of commerce, so soon as, by taking 
office at Berlin, the power of influencing his 
country's counsels fell into his hands. In 1864 
a meeting took place between him, then holding 
office as Prussian premier, and M. Rouher at 
Carlsbad. Some fraction of the many conversa- 
tions which are said to have there passed between 
the two statesmen on European affairs, have 



61 



THE FRANCO- PRUSSIAN WAR. 



taken their place in the domain of public belief, 
and Herr von Bismarck's habit of speaking his 
thoughts is so well known, that credence may 
be given to utterances attributed to him, which 
from almost any other person living would be 
counted as extravagances of indiscretion and au- 
dacity. Of this nature was the suggestion which 
he is generally supposed to have thrown out, that 
France might indemnify herself by taking posses- 
sion of Belgium, for the contemplated Prussian 
aggrandizements in Germany and those to be made 
at the expense of Denmark. Herr von Bismarck's 
aim was to impress the French minister with the 
idea, that the advantages he was aiming at for his 
own country might be compensated to France by 
equivalent territorial acquisitions. Whether the 
bait held out was a possible cession of the coal 
basin of the Saar, of the duchy of Luxemburg, 
or even the prospect of active assistance in annex- 
ing Belgium to France, is immaterial. The general 
impression sought to be produced, continues Sir 
Alexander, that Prussia was by no means hostile, 
that she might indeed be helpful to France, was 
adroitly produced; and subsequent conversations 
with the emperor at Biarritz took, there can be 
little doubt, the same direction, and confirmed the 
effect. Herr von Bismarck, on his second visit to 
Biarritz, met indeed with some difficulties. The 
French circular referring to the treaty of Gastein 
had been followed by the meeting of the English 
and French fleets at Cherbourg, apparently as a 
threat to Prussia, and the king of Prussia raised 
objections to his minister's taking a journey which, 
under such circumstances, seemed incompatible 
with the dignity of Prussia. In this conjuncture, 
seeing the indispensable need of removing the 
mistrust of the emperor of the French, Herr von 
Bismarck contrived to induce the French cabinet 
to modify the terms of their circular; and the 
king's consent being thereupon given, he went 
at once to Paris, and thence continued his journey 
to Biarritz. His success was complete: how 
brought about can only be vaguely surmised. One 
point, however, may be shrewdly guessed at with 
tolerable certainty, that the alliance of Prussia 
with Italy, for the purpose of war with Austria, 
was promised. The emperor did not insist on 
any positive engagements for contingent advantages 
to accrue to France. He had not that superb 
confidence in the ability of Prussia to vanquish 



Austria, even with Italian aid, indulged in by 
Bismarck. It is much more likely that he looked 
forward to the exhaustion of the combatants, when 
both or either of them might appeal to his not 
altogether disinterested good offices to appease their 
strife. The emperor foresaw, however, with toler- 
able certainty, the probable liberation of Venetia, an 
object he had greatly at heart; and it is perfectly 
well known that Herr von Bismarck returned 
to Berlin with such assurances of sympathy and 
absolutely benevolent neutrality on the part of 
France, that he could make his arrangements for 
employing the Rhenish garrisons, and leaving Saar- 
Louis, Coblentz, Luxemburg, and Cologne par- 
tially stripped of artillery, and with a small force 
of landwehr for their protection, all which would 
have been impossible had he been insecure as to 
the dispositions of France. 

These confidences of the veteran British envoy, 
tinged though they be with a jealous prejudice 
against the Prussian minister of state, are valuable 
as evidence of the secret workings of diplomacy 
in the arrangement of state affairs, and especially 
in the bringing about of great wars. They recall, 
too, an expression attributed to the Emperor 
Napoleon while at Wilhelmshohe, which merits 
a permanent record as indicating, by presumption at 
least, his Majesty's opinion of a formidable antagonist. 
" The minister of King William," he is reported to 
have said, "will wind Jules Favre round his finger. 
I have been quite duped by him — I to whom 
everybody agrees in attributing penetration and 
taciturnity. How then will it fare with Monsieur 
Favre, whose strength lies in fluency of speech ? 
All his words will be turned against him in the form 
of an agreement with his pacific intentions. Count 
von Bismarck will throw the responsibility of a 
refusal on his august Majesty. The talent of this 
diplomatist consists in his knowing how to throw on 
others the responsibility of resolutions that have 
been taken." Surely there is a souvenir here of 
the interviews at Paris and Biarritz that were so 
fruitful of consequences. "Count von Bismarck," 
said the ex-emperor in conclusion, " is an able man, 
but it is his audacity that makes him so. This is 
what distinguishes him from Cavour, the greatest 
politician I have ever met. If Cavour had been 
the minister of King William, the German empire 
would have been completed, and that without 
a shot."' 



CHAPTER IV. 



War between Austria and Prnssia — Premonitory Symptoms— Bismarck at Carlsbad in 1865 — His conversation with Due de Gramont — 
His observations to Herr von der Pfortden — Dalliance with the Central States of Germany— Freiherr von Beust — His desire to reduce 
Prussia to a level with the minor states — Mental Conflicts of Count von Bismarck — His Impression that he was providentially saved from 
the Assassin Blind — The Second Chamber at Berlin — Annexation of Lauenberg— The King's reluctance to War with a German State- 
Gloomy opening of the year 18G6 — Austrian Liberalism in Holstein antagonistic to Prussian Conservatism — Meeting of Delegates from 
Schleswig and Holstein Associations countenanced by Austria — Protest of Count von Bismarck and threat of separate policy — Severe 
decrees of the King of Prnssia in Schleswig against supporters of the Prince of Augustenburg — Vienna Government resolve to lay the 
matter before the Diet — Support of the minor states requested by Austria— Count Karolyi's interview with the Prussian Premier — 
Alliance between Prussia and Italy — Austria cautiously makes military preparations — The Prussian Minister complains that Austria is 
arming — Aims a first blow at the Diet, and recounts in a Circular (24th March, 1866) Prussia's grounds of complaint against Austria — 
Suggests Reformation of the Bund — Austria unwilling to break the Peace — Prussia's readiness for War — Preparations in Italy — Proposal 
for a common reduction of Armaments — Italy the stumbling-block — Austrian statement of the 26th April — Prussian statement — The 
negotiations exhausted — Attempt at intervention on the part of other powers — Conference proposed and consented to save by Austria, who 
objects to the discussion of a cession of territory — Manteuffel marches from Schleswig into Holstein with Prussian troops — Gablenz with 
the Austrians retires to Altona, crosses the Elbe, and reaches friendly territory — Prussia declares war against Saxony, Hauover, and Hesse 
— First Prussian army enters Saxony — Overruns Hesse — Proclamation of Prince Frederick Charles — Second army under the Crown Prince 
— Third army (of the Elbe) under General Herwarth — Movements in Silesia and Bohemia — General Benedek — Crown Prince of Saxony — 
Clam Gallas — Prussians cross the mountains — Communications kept up by telegraphic wires — Muncbengratz — Turnau — Louwitz — Nachod — 
Skaliz — Koniginhof— Schweinschadei— Capture of Jicin — General order of the Crown Prince of Prussia at Prausnitz — Junction of the Prussian 
armies — Pursuit of the Austrians to Gitschin— Koniggr&tz — King of Prussia arrives at Gitschin — His address to the municipal authorities 
— Great battle — Account of an eye-witness — Village of Chlum — Austrian force and commanders — Artillery contest — Village of Sadowa — 
Benetak in flames — Attack on Sadowa — Tremendous fire of artillery and needle-guns — Great havoc — Fransky's attack on the wood above 
Sadowa — 3000 Prussians and 90 officers enter the wood, 300 men and 2 officers only leave it — Herewarth's army is engaged with the 
Saxons at Nechanitz — The first and third Prussian armies brought nearly to a standstill— The moment critical— Village of Chlum on fire — 
Timely arrival of the Crown Prince of Prussia with the second army on the field of battle — Austrians at a disadvantage — Their obstinate 
resistance — "All is lost" — Austrian request for an armistice rejected — Forward movement of the Prussians — Remarks on the battle of 
Koniggratz or Sadowa — The corps of Knobelsdorf and Stabberg in Silesia — Generals Goeben and Manteuffel in Hanover — Beyer in Hesse- 
Cassel — Allies of Austria at Gottingen, Bamberg, and Frankfort — Prince Charles of Bavaria — General von Falkenstein — Campaign in 
Hanover — Armistice — Terms proposed to King George rejected — Battle of Langensalza on the 27th June — Hanoverians masters of the 
field — Hemmed in, nevertheless, by superior numbers, they capitulate to the Prussians, and the king becomes an exile — Campaign of the 
Main — Bavarian army — Federal army — Battle of Wiesenthai — Victory of the Prussians over Bavarians — Battle at Hammelburg on the 
Saale — Severe engagement at Kissingen — Actions on the Main between Prussians and the Federal forces under Prince Alexander of Hesse 
— Battle of Lanfach — Prussians capture Aschaffenburg — Federals evacuate Frankfort, which Falkenstein enters at the head of the Prussians 
— Large sums of money exacted from the burghers — March from Frankfort southwards — Actions on the Tauber — Occupation of Franconia 
by Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin— Armistice accorded at Wurzburg to the Central States— March of Prussians on Brunn, Pressburg, and 
Vienna — Preliminaries of Nikolsburg — Peace of Prague — Italian Campaign. 



The historian Schmidt says that, as early as the 
month of July, 1865, Count von Bismarck at Carls- 
bad had said to the French ambassador at Vienna, 
the now too famous Due de Gramont, that he con- 
sidered war between Prussia and Austria to have 
become a necessity. The statement is disputed, 
but there is little doubt that the thought was at 
that time in Bismarck's mind. His reported con- 
versation, in the same month, with Herr von der 
Pfordten, the Bavarian prime minister, is still more 
remarkable. He said, avers Schmidt, " that war 
between Austria and Prussia was very likely, and 
close at hand. It would be a duel between the 
two powers only, and the rest of Germany might 
stand by as passive spectators. Prussia never 
contemplated extending her power beyond the line 



of the Main. The settlement of the controversy 
would not take long. One blow, one pitched 
battle, and Prussia would be in a position to dic- 
tate conditions. The most urgent need of the 
central states was to range themselves on the side 
of Prussia. A localization of the war in Silesia 
was determined upon, and was deemed feasible by 
the best military authorities. The central states, 
by proclaiming neutrality, might contribute to 
this desirable localization, and Bavaria had only 
to remember that she was the natural heir to the 
position of Austria in South Germany." How 
deep and far-seeing were these tempting sugges- 
tions thrown into the minds of men who were 
possible allies or probable foes! The treaty of 
Gastein, by leaving the central states in an 
i 



66 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



ambiguous position, had already proved that Austria 
had not their interests very deeply at heart. 

The leader of what was called the central state 
policy was Freiherr von Beust, prime minister of 
the king of Saxony. His endeavour was to keep 
alive the old dualism of Austria and Prussia, con- 
ceding nothing to either power, but labouring 
solely to preserve the independence of the smaller 
central states. So long as this policy prevailed, 
the unification of Germany was impossible. Had 
the ideas of the central state party been large and 
bold, they might have decided the question of 
national union, and kept Prussia in a subordinate 
place, by agreeing with Austria to form a great 
state, by means of a solid combination of her Ger- 
man territory and population, with their own numer- 
ous states. But there was no leader among them 
with power to conceive and energy to carry out to 
the end any scheme of this kind, and the genius of 
the Prussian minister forestalled them. Sacrifices 
for the sake of unity were demanded of the princes; 
sacrifices for Germany, not for Prussia, who would 
have herself to make greater sacrifices than any of 
them. In the struggles at the Diet, while Austria 
maintained her ascendancy, great efforts were made 
to reduce Prussia to an equality with the central 
states, to their intense gratification. They were 
ready to make any sacrifice, except independence, 
if Prussia were subjected to the same; such was 
their jealousy of Prussian greatness, and their 
desire to magnify the power of the Federal Diet. 
For this reason it was that the majority of votes 
was constantly in support of Austria. They 
strove to deceive themselves and the world with 
the notion that Germany and the Federal Diet 
were identical, and that Prussia was non-German 
and refractory when she refused to submit to the 
decrees of Austria and her supporters in the Diet. 
In combating these principles at Frankfort, Count 
von Bismarck schooled himself for the greater and 
more active conflicts that were to follow. 

Of extreme interest is the history of the 
conflicts in the minister's own mind, as the 
great crisis of his public life approached. The 
mixture in him of worldly wisdom with unsus- 
pected religious fervour, recalls the history of 
Oliver Cromwell's great strivings and searchings 
of heart. The inward strife and agitation which 
he suffered throughout the spring of 1866 is said 
actually to have been calmed by the attempt to 
assassinate him made by the crazy enthusiast, 



young Blind, on the 7 th of May in that year. 
Bismarck looked upon his escape from death as 
a sign from heaven, encouraging him to pursue 
the path on which he had set out. How severe had 
been the six years' struggle with the second cham- 
ber of the Diet on the question of re-organizing the 
army, can only be known to the participators in 
that contest. The chamber had both the letter 
and the spirit of the constitution on its side, and 
was justified in complaining that the political part 
of legislation had been brought to a standstill. 
Important questions of education, trade, and pro- 
vincial administration, awaiting settlement, were 
unceremoniously shunted on one side, on account 
of this unexplained zeal for reforming the army. 
Bismarck's personal influence could not be exer- 
cised over a large assembly, to which it was 
impossible to reveal a bold and comprehensive 
plan for revolutionizing Germany without ex- 
posing the plan to ruin. The opposition, there- 
fore, in the second chamber was stronger than 
ever, and early in February manifested itself by 
voting a resolution to the effect that the annex- 
ation of the duchy of Lauenberg to the crown 
of Prussia should not take place until it had 
been approved of by both the chambers. Such 
an interference with the great scheme could not be 
brooked, and the session was abruptly terminated 
by the king on the 23rd February. There can be 
little doubt that the hostile attitude of the faithful 
commons helped to precipitate the international 
crisis that was approaching. The minister knew 
that he was doing right in combating their consti- 
tutional views. He alone seems to have had his 
scheme planned out clearly before him, and when 
he had successfully defied the Parliament, he had 
the difficult task of conquering the king. His 
Majesty's reluctance to go to war with a German 
state, and with a friendly young monarch like the 
emperor of Austria, was not easily overcome, but 
yielded at last to urgent reasons of policy, brought 
to bear upon his mind with consummate skill and 
characteristic ardour, by his able minister. 

On the opening of the year 1866, symptoms 
were visible of the dissolution of that hollow 
friendship between Prussia and Austria, which 
had been ostensibly cemented at Gastein not 
many months before. Singularly enough, the 
first overt ground of offence arose from the liberal- 
ism of aristocratic Austria; but it was liberalism 
in Holstein, where Prussian interests required 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



67 



a strictly conservative and repressive policy. 
Austria secretly favoured the pretensions of the 
duke of Augustenburg, which Prussia would 
not for a moment countenance after the adverse 
decision of the commission upon the claims to the 
duchies. The Prussian ministry, moreover, were 
irritated at perceiving the sympathy expressed by 
the Austrians for the recalcitrant members of the 
Berlin parliament, whose opposition to the gov- 
ernment seemed a source of weakness in Prussia 
that was far from disagreeable to the statesmen of 
Vienna. Thus when the Austrian government 
was informed of a project for assembling delegates 
of Holstein and Schleswig associations on January 
23, in Altona, it issued a warning against the 
holding of any such meeting, as calculated to 
bring new dangers on the country. Upon an 
assurance, however, being given by the promoters 
of the meeting, that all agitating questions should 
be avoided, the Austrian government did not 
prevent the meeting from taking place. This 
occurrence drew forth a note from the Berlin 
cabinet, dated January 26, to their envoy at 
Vienna, complaining of the conduct of the Holstein 
government as seriously impairing the relations of 
the two states. Count von Bismarck appealed to 
the recollections of the meetings of Gastein and 
Salzburg, and remarked, that he had allowed him- 
self to hope that at that period Austria was not 
only convinced of the necessity of combating the 
revolution, but had agreed as to the mode of combat. 
The conduct of Austria in the affair of the notes 
to the Frankfort senate had already somewhat 
shaken this agreeable persuasion ; matters, however, 
now assumed a far graver aspect. The conduct 
of the Holstein government could only be desig- 
nated as aggressive. It ill became the imperial 
government openly to use against Prussia the 
same means of agitation against which they fought 
together at Frankfort. If at Vienna it was thought 
that they might tranquilly contemplate the revo- 
lutionary transformation of the people of Holstein, 
so distinguished by their conservative spirit, Prussia 
was resolved not to act in a similar manner. The 
treaty of Gastein had indeed provisionally divided 
the administration of the two duchies. But 
Prussia had the right of claiming that Austria 
should maintain Holstein in statu quo, just as much 
as Prussia was bound to keep Schleswig in that 
state. The royal government saw no difficulty in 
putting an end to the agitation, the scandals, and 



injuries to the principle of royalty going on in the 
duchies. The Prussian government entreated the 
Vienna cabinet to weigh the situation, and to 
act accordingly. If a negative or evasive reply 
was given, Prussia would at least be assured that, 
influenced by her ancient antagonism, Austria 
could not durably act together with her. This 
conviction would be a painful one, but Prussia 
needed to see clearly. Should it be rendered 
impracticable for her to act with Austria, she would 
at least gain full freedom for her policy, and might 
make such use thereof as suited her interests. 

This ominous threat of a rupture, which seemed 
to produce little impression at Vienna, was ere long 
followed by acts of unmistakable self-assertion in 
the duchies. Early in March the king of Prussia 
issued a decree in Schleswig, which declared that 
any Schleswiger signing an address or delivering 
a speech in favour of the duke of Augustenburg, 
would thenceforth be liable to be imprisoned for a 
period varying from three months to five years; 
while the actual attempt to abolish the Austro- 
Prussian sovereignty over the duchies, and hand 
over the country to any of the rival pretenders, 
rendered the offender liable to a penalty of from 
five to ten years' hard labour. This was asserting 
an authority in matters pertaining to Holstein 
which Austria could not but resent, as it was 
tantamount to declaring the treaty of Gastein to 
be abolished. The government at Vienna, there- 
fore, resolved to bring the matter before the Diet, 
and let that body decide the question of appro- 
priating the duchies. The minor states were 
requested to support Austria in the Diet, and to 
vote for making a summons to Prussia to declare 
herself; and in case the danger of a rupture of 
peace became more imminent, they were asked to 
vote for setting in motion the several army corps, 
under the command of the Diet, and placing them 
in communication with the Austrian army. It 
was in March, according to Sir A. Malet, that 
Count Karolyi, the Austrian ambassador at Berlin, 
received orders to ask the Prussian premier if he 
meant to break the treaty of Gastein. " No ! " said 
his Excellency very decidedly in reply; adding, 
however, " If I had the intention, do you think I 
should tell you?" Karolyi hastened to inform his 
government, which seemed blind to the fact, that 
he considered war inevitable. 

Meanwhile, before the end of March, a secret 
treaty of alliance was entered into between Prussia 



68 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN "WAR 



and Italy, the terms of which, so far as they were 
known, show how resolved the two countries were 
to engage in war with Austria. According to 
these, Italy engaged to declare war against Aus- 
tria as soon as Prussia should have either declared 
war or committed an act of hostility. Prussia 
engaged to carry on the war until the mainland of 
Venetia, with the exception of the fortresses and 
the city of Venice, either was in the hands of the 
Italians, or until Austria declared herself ready to 
cede it voluntarily; and King Victor Emmanuel 
promised not to lay down his arms until the Prus- 
sians should be in legal possession of the Elbe 
duchies. 

Austria could not mistake acts of such extraor- 
dinary significance as an alliance between Italy 
and Prussia, although she remained in ignorance 
of the terms of the treaty. Slowly and hesitatingly 
she commenced military preparations, which though 
conducted with great caution, and not calculated 
to excite serious alarm, were sufficient to furnish 
Count von Bismarck with grounds of complaint 
against Ms Gastein ally, and induce him to make 
the first openly hostile demonstration. 

The Prussian premier struck his first blow at 
the Diet, and warned the several states of the 
Confederation, in a circular letter. He complained 
that Austria had acted in direct opposition to the 
treaties of Vienna and Gastein, by which the Elbe 
duchies had been legally transferred to the two 
powers, and had sought to hand it over to the 
prince of Augustenburg, " who had no right 
thereto." The intimate relations of the two powers 
were endangered by the manifest symptoms of ill- 
will on the part of the Vienna cabinet. Corres- 
pondence had ceased, but no reference to war had 
been made, nor was war intended. But Austria, 
while reproaching Prussia with intentions of dis- 
turbing the peace, was herself arming and sending 
from her eastern and southern provinces consider- 
able forces, north and west, towards the Prussian 
frontier. The gratuitous Prussian supposition 
that the Kaiser wanted to compel the continuance 
of the Gastein intimacy, is ludicrously flimsy. 
Prussia at all events would arm, it being impos- 
sible that she could allow Silesia to be beset with 
troops without making counter preparations of 
defence. This was not enough; the cabinet at 
Berlin, having experienced the slight trust to be 
placed in the Austrian alliance, was bound to look 
to other quarters for guarantees of safety and 



peace. National independence was only to be 
found in the basis of German nationality, and in 
strengthening the ties which bound the purely 
German states together. The Bund or Confedera- 
tion was manifestly insufficient for this purpose, 
and for the active policy which important crises in 
Europe might require. Prussia could not rely 
on the slow-moving Bund for help in the time of 
need, but must trust to her own good arm and the 
support of such German states as were friendly to 
her. The Bund must be reformed, and in a sense 
that would be for the interest of other German 
states as much as of Prussia. The interests of the 
latter state were, by geographical situation, iden- 
tical with those of Germany, whose fate was in- 
volved in Prussia's. If the power of Prussia were 
broken, Germany would exist on sufferance, and 
in a great European crisis might undergo the fate 
of Poland. Strong arguments these to address to 
a reflective people like the Germans, and they had 
their effect. In the rupture between the two great 
powers, the decision of each of the smaller states as 
to which it would take was of vital importance to 
itself. Prussia was evidently able and willing to 
fight, and if she gained the victory it was clear 
that she meant to have the command of the mili- 
tary force of the proposed new Confederation, at 
which Count von Bismarck hinted in his circular. 
Count Karolyi was instructed to answer that circu- 
lar, by formally assuring the king that the emperor 
of Austria had not the slightest intention to make 
a breach of the peace. The reply sent to Vienna 
was, that nothing could explain away the extensive 
military preparations made by Austria in the direc- 
tion of her northern frontier. Owing to the 
admirably organized military system which they 
had perfected, the Berlin statesmen were able to 
make this charge without fear of a retort, for their 
own army could be mobilized and brought to the 
field of action in rather less than three weeks' time. 
The Prussian force quartered in Silesia at the end 
of March was about 25,000 men, with eighteen batter- 
ies of artillery, while the Austrians had, according 
to the official Prussian accounts, an army of 80,000 
men, with 240 guns in Bohemia, not far from the 
Silesian frontier. By orders issued between the 
28th of March and the 1st of April, Prussia was 
enabled to put on a war footing considerably 
larger forces than Austria could possibly oppose to 
them. On the 25th of March the Italian minister 
of war gave orders to increase the national force 



THE FRANCO PRUSSI AN WAR. 



69 



by 100,000 men. Having advanced so far with 
their preparations, neither party was willing to 
recede, though King and Kaiser both declared 
their intention not to commit an act of aggression. 
Meanwhile, Count von Bismarck created a great 
ferment throughout Germany by submitting to 
the Diet at Frankfort his proposition that the Diet 
should be reformed, and that a national German 
Assembly should be convoked to consider the 
means and methods of this said reform. On 18th 
April the emperor proposed to reduce his arma- 
ments if King William would do the same, and 
the proposal was joyfully accepted by the old 
king. But other events and other influences were 
working in a less peaceful direction. Italy was 
excited in the highest degree at the prospect of 
another war with Austria, in which the Italians 
felt presumptuously confident that, with or with- 
out the aid of Prussia, they would recover Venetia 
and the Quadrilateral. Their attitude could not 
be disregarded by the imperial government, and 
on the 26 th of April a missive from Vienna 
reached Berlin, which, while expressing the 
emperor's deep satisfaction at the covenanted dis- 
armament on the Bohemian frontier, informed the 
royal government that the Austrian army in Italy 
would have to be put on a war footing, in order 
to defend the river Po and the sea-coast against 
the subjects of Victor Emmanuel. The Prussian 
government expressed grievous disappointment at 
this announcement, and declined further negotia- 
tions unless all the imperial army were reduced to 
a peace footing. The correspondence rapidly 
became warm, and Count Karolyi, on the 4th of 
May, informed the Prussian minister that Austria 
had now exhausted the negotiation for the simul- 
taneous withdrawal of military preparations on 
both sides. 

The following is the statement made on the 
26th of April by the Austrian minister at Berlin: 
— " The emperor has received with sincere satis- 
faction the announcement that Prussia has accepted 
the proposition for a simultaneous disarmament of 
the two powers. His Majesty had expected nothing 
less from the conciliatory sentiments of King Wil- 
liam. The emperor is now perfectly ready to give 
orders that the troops which have been directed 
upon Bohemia for the reinforcements of the garri- 
sons there, shall be withdrawn into the interior of 
the empire, and thus put an end to any appearance 
of a concentration of force against Prussia. But 



we are now in a position which requires us to in- 
crease our means of defence in another direction, 
and we ought to be assured that this circumstance 
will not prevent the Prussian government from 
responding to the retirement of our troops from 
the Bohemian frontier by the reduction of the 
Prussian corps which have been mobilized. In 
fact, the latest intelligence from Italy evidently 
proves that the army of King Victor Emmanuel 
is preparing for an attack upon Venetia; Austria, 
therefore, is forced to place its Italian army upon 
a war footing, by calling in the men on furlough, 
and by making proper provisions for the defence, 
not only of its frontier upon the Po, but also of 
its extended coast line, which cannot be done 
without the movement of considerable bodies of 
troops within the interior of the monarchy. We 
think it necessary to acquaint the cabinet of Berlin 
with these facts, in order that we may not be 
exposed to the false interpretations which might 
be placed upon the circumstance that, while we 
are withdrawing our troops from Bohemia, we are 
at the same time making military preparations in 
another part of the empire. 

"I request you, therefore, to explain to the 
king's government that these preparations are 
being made solely with a view to the eventuality 
of a conflict with the Italians, and that we shall 
begin at once to carry out the proposition of recip- 
rocal disarmament, as soon as we shall be assured 
that the king's government will not permit the 
measures which we are compelled to take in our 
own defence against an attack from the south, to 
exercise any influence adverse to the re-establish- 
ment of the normal state of relations between 
Austria and Prussia." 

Count von Bismarck framed on the 30th of 
April the following reply to this despatch: — 
" The Austrian government thus demands that 
Prussia shall countermand her, in themselves, 
modest defensive armaments, which have re- 
mained unchanged since the 28th of March, while 
Austria certainly withdraws her reinforcements 
of garrisons from Bohemia, but extends and 
hastens her arrangements for the establishment of 
an army upon a war footing. I cannot conceal 
from your excellency that, after the exchange of 
mutual declarations upon the 18th and 21st, hailed 
by us and by Europe as a guarantee of peace, we 
were not prepared for this demand. In justifica- 
tion of the altered attitude it takes up in the des- 



70 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



patch of the 26th, the imperial government adduces 
the intelligence it has received from Italy. Ac- 
cording to this, the army of King Victor Emmanuel 
is said to have been placed upon a war footing to 
proceed to an attack upon Yenetia. The informa- 
tion which has reached us direct from Italy, and 
that we have received through the medium of other 
courts, coincides in stating that armaments of a 
threatening character against Austria have not 
taken place in Italy, and confirm us in the convic- 
tion that an unprovoked attack upon the empire is 
far distant from the intentions of the cabinet of 
Florence. If, in the meantime and recently, mili- 
tary preparations may have commenced in Italy, 
these, as well as the measures adopted by us upon 
the 28th of March, may probably be regarded 
as the consequence of the armaments begun by 
Austria. We are persuaded that the Italian arma- 
ments would be as readily discontinued as our own, 
provided the causes through which they have been 
occasioned ceased. 

" In the interest of the preservation of peace, and 
the cessation of the pressure which at present 
weighs upon the relations of policies and trade, 
we therefore again request the imperial govern- 
ment to adhere without wavering to the programme 
it laid down itself in its despatch of the 18th, 
and which his Majesty the king accepted without 
delay, in the most conciliatory sense, and as a mark 
of his personal confidence in his Majesty the 
emperor. In execution of the same, we should 
expect, first, that all the troops sent to Bohemia, 
Moravia, Cracow, and Austrian Silesia, since the 
middle of March, should not only return to their 
former garrisons, but also that all bodies of troops 
stationed in those provinces should be replaced 
upon the former peace footing. We await a 
speedy authentic communication as to the execu- 
tion of these measures, i.e., of the restoration of 
the status quo ante, as the term of the 25th of 
April, fixed by the imperial government itself for 
the return to a peace footing of the troops assem- 
bled against our frontiers, has long since expired. 
We hope that the imperial government will at 
once, by further inquiry, arrive at the conviction 
that its intelligence as to the aggressive intentions 
of Italy was unfounded; that it will then proceed 
to the effective restoration of a peace footing 
throughout the imperial army, and thereby enable 
us to take the same step, to his Majesty's satis- 
faction." 



The manner in which this despatch was received 
by the cabinet of Vienna, is best explained by the 
orders issued early in May by the emperor of Aus- 
tria, authorizing the whole army to be placed on a 
footing of war, and for directing a part of it to be 
concentrated upon the frontiers of Bohemia and 
Silesia; and as early as the 4th of May, Count 
Mensdorff forwarded an address which he had 
drawn up, to the Austrian minister at Berlin, 
which, after referring to the despatch of Count 
von Bismarck, dated the 30th of April, proceeds, 
" According to this despatch, the government of 
his Majesty the king of Prussia thinks there is no 
reason why Austria should prepare to ward off an 
attack on her possessions in Italy. It declares that, 
if Austria should not think fit to place the whole 
imperial army on a real peace footing, it wiil not be 
possible for Prussia to carry on the important and 
momentous negotiations with the imperial govern- 
ment in any other way than by maintaining an 
equilibrium in the warlike preparations of the two 
powers. Your excellency will understand that we, 
after this declaration, must consider the negotia- 
tions for a simultaneous disarmament on the part 
of Prussia on the one side, and of Austria on the 
other, as being at an end. After the solemn assur- 
ances given by us in Berlin and in Frankfort, 
Prussia can have no reason to apprehend aggres- 
sive proceedings on our part, and Germany can 
have no cause to fear that we shall disturb the 
peace of the German Confederation. Just as little 
does Austria think of attacking Italy, although 
on all occasions the forcible detachment of a part 
of the Austrian territory has been the already pro- 
nounced programme of the Florence government. 
It is our duty to provide for the defence of the 
monarchy, and if the Prussian government finds 
in our measures against Italy a motive for uphold- 
ing her own readiness for war, we can but fulfil 
that duty — which admits of no foreign control — 
without entering into any further discussion as to 
the priority or magnitude of the several military 
measures. In Berlin it cannot be unknown that 
we have not only to provide for the integrity of 
our own empire, but also to protect the territory 
of the German Bund against an aggressive move- 
ment on the part of Italy ; and we therefore may, 
and must, in the interest of Germany, seriously 
ask of Prussia whether she thinks the demand that 
the frontiers of Germany shall be left unguarded, 
compatible with the duties of a German power." 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



71 



The two opposite influences at work, antag- 
onistic to the welfare of Austria, were shortly to 
undermine the monarchy, and by their united 
effect exalt the two countries that exercised them. 
Italy was to gain a triumphant freedom from Aus- 
trian rule, and Prussia an ascendancy long desired, 
but almost unlooked for. Yet, had the power of 
Prussia in the north proved as weak as that of her 
Italian ally in the south, Austria would have had a 
comparatively easy task, and have gained a double 
triumph. Austria's mistake was in having almost 
a needless fear of Italy, mixed with contempt and 
an affectation of slighting the strength of Prussia. 

On another question of moment, that of the Elbe 
duchies, Austria made a proposal that was exces- 
sively disagreeable to Prussia. The proposal was 
to the effect that the two powers should make a 
common declaration, that they would cede the rights 
over the duchies which they had acquired by the 
treaty of Vienna, to that claimant of the sovereignty 
whom the Diet should recognize as lawful. Prus- 
sia should have the military position of Kiel, Eends- 
burg, and Sonderburg given to her by the treaty 
of Gastein ; and Kiel should become a federal fort. 
Austria also would support Prussia's reasonable 
demands for territory requisite to complete the 
fortifications of Dybbol and Alsen, and obtain facili- 
ties for making the projected ship canal between the 
Baltic and North seas. Prussia declined to treat 
with a third party like the Diet on the subject 
of the duchies, but was willing to make a bargain 
with Austria if she were disposed to cede her share 
of the rights accruing by the treaty of Vienna. 

Saxony, having made military preparations with 
a view, as Herr von Beust affirmed, to support her 
position in the Diet, the Prussian cabinet com- 
plained and warned the Saxon government of the 
consequences. Austria began to arm in earnest. 
The fortresses of Theresienstadt and Josephstadt 
were equipped, Cracow strengthened, Koniggratz 
made defensible. The regiments in Bohemia, 
Moravia, and Galicia, were raised to their full war 
complement. 

Early in May a motion was made and carried 
in the Diet at Frankfort, by the representative 
of Saxony, to the effect that the Bund should 
summon Prussia to give a formal declaration 
that her intentions were of a pacific nature. A 
week or ten days later there was a conference 
held at Bamberg, of the middle states, in 
which the representatives of Bavaria, Wlirtem- 



burg, Baden, and Grand-ducal Hesse took part 
with those of the Saxon duchies, Brunswick and 
Nassau, in formulating the following propositions 
for the decision of the Diet: — The Diet will re- 
quest those members of the Confederation which 
have taken any steps for military preparations 
beyond their peace establishment, to declare in the 
next sitting of the Diet, whether, and on what 
conditions, they will be prepared simultaneously 
to reduce their armed force to the peace establish- 
ment, and on a day to be agreed upon in the 
Diet's sitting. The vote was to be taken on the 
1st June, on which day Baron Kiibeck, on the 
part of Austria, charged Prussia with having made 
a " lamentable alliance with a foreign opponent of 
the empire;" adding, that his government, being 
imperilled on two sides, and uncertain whether the 
first attack would take place on the south or on 
the north, must preserve an attitude of defence. 
Their efforts, he continued, to come to an under- 
standing with Prussia for a settlement on Federal 
principles of the question of the Elbe duchies, had 
been frustrated, and they should leave all future 
decisions with respect to it to the Diet, seeing that 
all Germany had a common interest in Schleswig 
and Holstein. This last fling at Prussia's known 
desire to annex the provinces, struck home, and 
was followed by orders to General Gablenz, the 
Austrian governor of Holstein, to convene an 
assembly of the states for the 11th of June, 
for the purpose of deciding on their future 
form of government. By this act, accord- 
ing to Prussian jurists, the treaty of Gastein was 
abrogated, and the cabinet of Berlin, falling back 
upon the treaty of Vienna, and the rights of 
co-possession which it conferred, ordered General 
Manteuffel to lead a sufficient military force from 
Schleswig into Holstein. This was done on the 
8th and 9th of June, and Gablenz, finding himself 
outnumbered, and in danger of being caught in 
a trap the moment war should be declared, wisely 
withdrew from the duchy to a place of safety. As 
for the Frankfort Diet, it was informed by Baron 
Savigny that since they could not restrain Austria 
and Saxony from threatening Prussia by their for- 
midable armaments, Prussia would protect her own 
interests without regard to the decisions of the 
Diet. One more sitting only, of great importance, 
was the Diet destined to hold. Her decrees were 
like the fibres of a spider's web, strong enough to 
hold small flies, but torn to shreds by a bee or a 



72 



TUE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



wasp. On the 11th of June, at this memorable 
meeting, Austria moved that all the Federal con- 
tingents saving that of Prussia should be mobilized 
and placed on their full war establishment, con- 
centrated within fourteen days, and then be ready- 
to take the field within twenty-four hours. This 
was tantamount to a declaration of war by the 
whole Confederation against Prussia. Undismayed 
however, by the formidable aspect of the situation, 
Prussia replied by the counter proposition of a 
scheme for reforming the Bund, of which she 
moved the immediate adoption. This bold scheme 
consisted of ten articles, the most salient of which 
were the convocation of a national representative 
body to be elected by universal suffrage, and to sit 
periodically, and the exclusion of Austria from the 
Confederation. The representative of the Kaiser, 
so long paramount in the Diet as by right prescrip- 
tive, must have indeed felt on this occasion that the 
genius of Count von Bismarck, as Louis Napoleon 
says, lies in his audacity. The Austrian proposal, 
however, was carried on a division by nine against 
six votes. Thereupon Baron Savigny said that 
his master the king now considered the breach 
of the Federal compact to be consummated, and 
his participation in the proceedings of the Diet 
came to an end. The assembly dispersed on the 
14th, never to meet for independent action again, 
being destroyed, after an existence of fifty years, 
by the minority of its members. Prussia lost no 
time in summoning the governments of Saxony, 
Hanover, and Hesse-Cassel, to declare for or 
against her, offering to guarantee the sovereign 
rights of their rulers if they took her side. Saxony 
refused peremptorily; the other two states delayed 
their answers; and all three received from Prussia 
an immediate declaration of war. 

One more effort in favour of peace was made by 
the other great powers, who united in proposing a 
conference. Prussia, Italy, and the Diet agreed to 
the proposal, but Austria accepted only on con- 
dition that the negotiations should exclude all pre- 
tensions on the part of any one of the powers to 
obtain an aggrandizement of territory. The fulfil- 
ment of this condition would have foiled Prussia 
in her hopes of annexing the Duchies, Italy in her 
expectation of recovering Venetia, and France in her 
general views; she being favourable to both of those 
projects. The idea of a conference was therefore 
abandoned, and the trumpet sounded for war. 
" With God, for King and Fatherland," resounded 



through Berlin and in every town and village of 
Prussia, while an Austrian archduke, assuming 
for the first time a national tone, closed an 
order of the day in Italy with the words, " For 
God, with Emperor and Fatherland." Bismarck, 
Moltke, and Boon were now frequently to be seen 
walking together in the summer evenings under 
the fine trees of the garden attached to the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Berlin. There, 
on the night of Thursday the 14th June, the 
thought flashed upon Count von Bismarck to set 
the Prussian army in motion twenty- four hours 
sooner than was intended. Moltke retired to his 
cabinet, opened a drawer from which he took out 
orders that had been carefully prepared, and by 
means of the telegraph wires delivered those orders 
to every corner of the kingdom ere the next day 
had fully dawned. All that thought, knowledge, 
foresight could do in preparation for a great war, 
was done by the Prussian government. Austria, 
on her side, was also full of confidence. She was 
leader of Germany by prescription, and she cer- 
tainly did not expect to be overthrown by a power 
long treated by her as an inferior. 

When the prospect of a war, says the " History 
of the Seven Weeks' War," arose between Austria 
and Prussia in the spring of 1866, then came 
Italy's opportunity to complete the work which 
had been commenced at Magenta, to secure and 
unite to herself the only province which, still under 
the rule of the foreigner, prevented her from being 
free from the Alps to the Adriatic. Italy naturally 
drew as close to Prussia as she possibly could. 
Austria requires a long time to mobilize her 
army, and had begun her preparations for war 
in the middle of February. Public attention was 
directed to this fact by a council of war held at 
Vienna as early as the 10th of March, to which 
Feldzeugmeister (general of artillery) Benedek was 
summoned from Verona. At this council the 
party in favour of war was strongly predominant, 
and decided that Austria was powerful enough to 
take the field against Prussia and Italy at the same 
time, provided that measures were taken to isolate 
Prussia in Germany, and to draw the states of the 
Confederation to the Austrian side. The grand 
error of this council was that too high an estimate 
was formed of the strength of Austria, and far too 
low a calculation made of the powers of Prussia ; 
no doubt seems to have been entertained but that 
Austria would emerge from such a war decidedly 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



73 



the victor. Italy was so detested that every Aus- 
trian wished for an Italian war. Prussia, it was 
thought, weakened by an internal political conflict, 
could hardly unite her contending parties in a 
common foreign policy. Nor was a high opinion 
entertained of her military resources and organiza- 
tion. The professional papers and periodicals of 
Austria ingeniously demonstrated that Prussia, 
however hardly pressed, could not place her normal 
army on a complete war footing, because trained 
men would be wanting. The writers of these 
articles calculated that the battalions of infantry 
could only be brought into the field with a muster- 
roll of eight hundred men ; no consideration was 
paid to the landwehr ; in fact, doubts were in some 
cases thrown upon the existence of the landwehr 
soldiers at all, and those who believed in their 
existence entertained no doubts of their certain 
disloyalty. It was also calculated that the Prussian 
army would have to make such strong detachments 
for the garrisons of fortresses, that a very small 
force would be left for operations in the field. 
These false calculations, the first step and perhaps 
the most certain to the bitter defeat which ensued, 
were due to defective information. The war 
office at Vienna was lamentably deficient in those 
detailed accounts of foreign military statistics, 
without which any government that undertakes 
great military operations must necessarily grope in 
the dark. 

Meanwhile the government of Prussia was 
not idle. By order of the king the entire 
army was mobilized, five corps d'armee being 
placed upon a war strength by the 4th of May, 
while the remaining four corps of the stand- 
ing army received orders to be augmented and 
mobilized. The execution of these orders was 
conducted with such remarkable alacrity and pre- 
cision as indicated how careful Prussia had been 
for a considerable period to prepare, in case of 
the outbreak of war, a force adequate to the sev- 
erest exigencies of either defence or attack. The 
equipment of the entire Prussian army was fully 
effected at the end of a fortnight, when it mus- 
tered 490,000 men, unsurpassed in efficiency, and 
fully provided for a campaign. It was on the 
7th of May that the Prussian troops concentrated 
in Schleswig crossed the frontier, and occupied 
Holstein ; while the Austrians, not having at this 
point a sufficient body of men to resist their entry, 
retired to Altona. General Manteuffel, the Prussian 



governor of Schleswig, then published a procla- 
mation declaring to the inhabitants of Holstein 
that the provisional government established in 
1866 was discarded, and a Prussian president was 
appointed for the general administration of the 
affairs of both the duchies of Schleswig and Hol- 
stein. The expedition with which Prussia made 
her preparations appeared a matter of almost as 
much surprise to themselves as to the Austrians. 
The army of the latter power, however, although 
starting with a priority of ten weeks for its 
formation, was in an incompetent state to open 
the campaign when the day for action arrived. 
Had the Prussians then taken advantage of the 
backward state of their enemy's preparations, the 
campaign might have been even more marvellously 
brief and decisive than it was. Why Prussia did 
not avail herself of the opportunity thus afforded 
has not been clearly explained. Was Prussia, it 
has been asked, really so moderate as her advocates 
would have the world believe? Was it desire of 
peace or fear of failure which stayed her hand, 
and held her marshalled corps on the north of the 
mountain frontier of Bohemia? It may have been 
both, but the results of the war show that the 
latter entered into the calculations of those who 
planned the Prussian strategy. The army was 
ready and might have attacked Austria; but it 
would in its advance have exposed its communica- 
tions to the assault of the minor states, and until 
forces were prepared to quell these, the main army 
could not assume the offensive. This was probably 
the cause why the troops were not at once con- 
centrated, and pushed immediately into Bohemia. 
At the very beginning the Prussian army confined 
itself to taking up defensive positions to cover the 
provinces most exposed to attack, especially towards 
Bohemia. The Austrian army of the north had 
commenced its concentration in Bohemia on the 
13th May, and Feldzeugmeister Benedek had there 
taken over the command-in-chief on the 18th. 
The first, fifth, and sixth Prussian corps d'armee 
were posted in Silesia, the second and third corps in 
Lusatia, and the fourth corps round Erfurt. The 
o-uards corps was still left at Berlin, and the seventh 
and eighth corps were retained in Westphalia and 
the Rhine provinces, respectively. 

Italy had made such progress in her preparations 
for the coming struggle, that by the end of May 
her armaments were fully formed. A decree pub- 
lished at Florence having appointed General Gari- 



74 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



baldi, the great guerilla chieftain, to the immediate 
command of twenty volunteer battalions, which 
were ordered to form under that patriot's standard, 
the volunteers responded to the call in such num- 
bers that the battalions had to be doubled. Upon 
this Austria committed towards her Italian depen- 
dency one of her last acts of tyranny, by raising 
a compulsory loan in Venetia of twelve million 
gulden. This act excited Italian feeling to such 
a state of desperation, that Victor Emmanuel found 
the utmost difficulty in restraining his troops from 
striking the blow for liberty till the proper hour 
had arrived. Thus Austria was placed between 
two menacing foes, both acting in concerted mea- 
sures, yet each relying upon its own strength. 

Notwithstanding these active preparations, the 
actual commencement of hostilites was still averted, 
and though swords were not imbrued with blood, 
diplomatic pens, as we have seen, were actively 
engaged in paper war. Prussia was engaged in 
putting forward her motion for reform of the Ger- 
manic Confederation. The attempt made by the 
other great powers to bring about a reconciliation 
between the rival claimants for supremacy in Ger- 
many having failed, war became inevitable. 

The subjoined chronological table of the prin- 
cipal features of the political prologue is taken 
from the " History of the Seven Week's War:" — 

October 20, 1864. — Treaty of Vienna. 

August 14, 1865. — Convention of Gastein. 

March 12, 1866. — First preparations of Austria 
for war in Bohemia and Moravia. 

March 30, 1866. — First preparations of Prussia. 

April, 1866. — Negotiations concerning those 
armaments. 

April 23, 1866. — Great armament of Austria 
in Venetia. 

April 26, 1866. — Proposal of Austria to submit 
the question in dispute to the Diet. 

May 7, 1866. — Declaration of Prussia of the 
incompetency of the Diet to decide in inter- 
national questions, and suggestion of the desir- 
ability of the reform of the Confederation. 

Until May 28, 1866. — Armaments in all Ger- 
many and Italy. 

May 28, 1866. — Proposal of a Conference by 
the three non-Germanic powers. 

May 29, 1866. — Prussian acceptance of this 
proposal. 

June 1, 1866.- — Submission of the Schleswig- 
Holstein question to the Diet. 



June 5, 1866. — Summons by General Gablenz 
for assembly of Holstein Estates. 

June 10, 1866. — Prussian proposal for the 
reform of the Federal constitution. 

June 11, 1866. — Austrian motion for the de- 
cree of Federal execution against Prussia. 

June 14, 18 66. -^Acceptance of the Austrian 
motion by the Diet. 

June 15, 1866. — Declaration of war by Prussia 
against Hanover, Electoral Hesse, and Saxony. 

June 20, 1866. — Declaration of war by Italy 
against Austria and Bavaria. 

It must be remembered that the Westphalian 
and Bhenish provinces of Prussia were divided 
from the rest of the kingdom by the interlying 
territories of Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, and Nassau. 
Of these powers, all favouring Austria, the first 
possessed a well-armed, well -trained force of 
20,000 men — more than a match, it was thought, 
for the Prussian landwehr, and fit to be a powerful 
advanced guard to the forces which Bavaria and 
her allies upon the Main were about to raise. To 
meet this danger the Prussian chief ordered half 
of Vogel's corps to assemble at Minden, where, 
aided by the southward march of Manteuffel's 
regiments from Holstein, they were soon in a 
position to occupy Hanover and overrun Hesse- 
Cassel. The other half of Vogel's corps was 
united to Herwarth's, and formed the third or 
Elbe army, which, after occupying Saxony, became 
part of the general force employed in the invasion 
of Bohemia. 

The actual commencement of hostilities took 
place on the 15th June, the day after that on 
which the Diet had decreed the mobilization of 
the Federal forces. The Prussians marched into 
Saxony, and took possession of Leipsic. On com- 
mitting this bold act of invasion, Prince Frederick 
Charles, who commanded the Prussians, issued to 
the inhabitants of Saxony a proclamation, dated 
Gb'rlitz, June 16, in which he said, "We are not 
at war with the people and country of Saxony, but 
only with the government, which by its inveterate 
hostility has forced us to take up arms." At the 
same time Hesse-Cassel was also overrun by the 
Prussians, who met with no impediment. The 
entire Prussian force was formed into three distinct 
armies. The first army, under the command of 
Prince Frederick Charles, was in occupation of 
Saxony, and threatened the Bohemian frontier. 
The second army, under the command of the 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



75 



Crown Prince, was in movement in Silesia; and a 
third army, designated the army of the Elbe, and 
commanded by General Herwarth, was prepared to 
march on the right flank of the first army. 

The emperor of Austria, on the 17th of June, 
issued an address " To my Peoples," in which the 
circumstances which brought about the impending 
hostilities were reviewed, and reasons given why 
Austria was under the necessity of entering into 
the combat. "While engaged in a work of peace," 
said his Majesty, " which was undertaken for the 
purpose of laying the foundation for a constitution 
which should augment the unity and power of the 
empire, and, at the same time, secure to my several 
countries and peoples free internal development, 
my duties as a sovereign have obliged me to place 
my whole army under arms. On the frontiers 
of my empire, in the south and in the north, 
stand the armies of two enemies, who are allied 
together with the intention of breaking the 
power of Austria as a great European state. 
To neither of these enemies have I given cause 
for war. I call on my Omniscient God to bear 
witness that I have always considered it my first, 
my most sacred duty, to do all in my power to 
secure for my people the blessings of peace." 

After alluding to his former alliance with Prus- 
sia, and to some minor topics, he says, " The 
assurances given by my government of my love 
of peace, and the repeated declarations which were 
made of my readiness to disarm at the same time 
with Prussia, were replied to by propositions 
which could not be accepted without sacrificing 
the honour and safety of the monarchy. Prussia 
not only insisted on complete disarmament in the 
northern provinces of the empire, but also in those 
parts of it which touch on Italy, where a hostile 
army was standing, for whose love of peace no 
guarantee could either be given or offered. The 
negotiations with Prussia in respect to the Elbe 
duchies, clearly proved that a settlement of the 
question in a way compatible with the dignity 
of Austria, and with the rights and interests of 
Germany and the duchies, could not be brought 
about, as Prussia was violently intent on conquest. 
The negotiations were therefore broken off, the 
whole affair was referred to the Bund, and at the 
same time the legal representatives of Holstein 
were convoked." 

The emperor then refers to the intervention 
of the three powers to avert if possible the 



outbreak of war, and he attributes the failure 
of the attempt to the ambitious aims of Prussia. 
" The recent events clearly prove that Prussia 
substitutes open violence for right and justice. 
The rights and the honour of Austria, the rights 
and the honour of the whole German nation, 
are no longer a barrier against the inordi- 
nate ambition of Prussia. Prussian troops have 
entered Holstein, the estates convoked by the 
imperial stadtholder have been violently dissolved. 
The government of Holstein, which the treaty of 
Vienna gives to Austria and Prussia in common, 
has been claimed for Prussia alone; and the Aus- 
trian garrison has been obliged to give way to a 
force ten times as strong as itself. When the 
German Bund accepted the Austrian proposition 
to mobilize the Federal troops, Prussia, who prides 
herself upon being the defender of the interests of 
Germany, resolved to complete the work she had 
begun, by violently severing the tie which unites 
the German races. Suddenly announcing her 
secession from the Bund, she required from the 
German government the acceptance of a so-called 
project of reform, which in reality is a division 
of Germany, and now she employs military force 
against those sovereigns who have faithfully dis- 
charged their federal duties. 

" The most pernicious of wars, a war of Germans 
against Germans, has become inevitable, and I 
now summon before the tribunal of history, before 
the tribunal of an eternal and all-powerful God, 
those persons who have brought it about, and 
make them responsible for the misfortunes which 
may fall on individuals, families, districts, and 
countries." Turning from this ahnost pathetic 
strain, the Kaiser expresses his delight at the 
patriotic spirit evinced by his people: — " My heart 
beats high at the sight of my gallant and well- 
appointed army — the bulwark against which the 
force of the enemies of Austria will be broken — 
and of my faithful peoples, who are full of loyal 
confidence and self-devotion. The pure fire of 
patriotic enthusiasm burns with equal strength 
and steadiness in all parts of my vast empire. 
Joyfully do the furlough men and reserves take their 
places in the ranks of the army; numerous volun- 
teers present themselves; the whole of the able- 
bodied population of the countries which are most 
exposed are preparing to take the field." He 
also flatters his people with the prospect, that " we 
shall not be alone in the stru2ff;le which is about 



76 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR, 



to take place. The princes and peoples of Germany- 
know that their liberty and independence are 
menaced by a power, which listens but to the 
dictates of egotism, and is under the influence of 
an ungovernable craving after aggrandizement." 
The emperor ends his lengthy manifesto by testi- 
fying his implicit faith in the justness of his cause, 
and his belief in a consequent success. 

On the day of its publication a general order 
was also issued by Benedek, the commander-in- 
chief, to the Austrian army of the North, from 
his head-quarters at Olmiitz. In this document 
the Austrian commander betrays woful ignorance 
of the quality of the army opposed to him. " Sol- 
diers," he says, " we are on the eve of grave and 
sanguinary events. I have the full and entire 
conviction that you are aware of and are worthy 
of the mission confided to you. Have confidence 
also in me, and be assured that on my part I will 
exert my best efforts to bring this campaign to a 
speedy and glorious termination. We are now 
faced by inimical forces, composed partly of troops 
of the line and partly of landwehr. The first 
comprise young men not accustomed to priva- 
tions and fatigues, and who have never yet made 
an important campaign. The latter is composed 
of doubtful and dissatisfied elements, which rather 
than fight against us would prefer the downfall 
of their government. In consequence of a long 
course of years of peace, the enemy does not 
possess a single general who has had an oppor- 
tunity of learning his duties on the field of battle. 
Veterans of the Mincio and of Palestro, I hope 
that with tried leaders you will not allow the 
slightest advantage to such an adversary. On the 
day of battle the infantry will adopt their lightest 
campaign accoutrement, and will leave behind 
their knapsacks and camping material, in order 
that they may be able to throw themselves with 
rapidity and promptitude upon the heavily-laden 
enemy. The officers will discontinue the use of 
their wide scarves, and all the useless insignia of 
their ranks, which but renders them too easily 
distinguishable in action. Every man, without 
distinction of name or position, shall be promoted 
whenever he shall distinguish himself on the field 
of battle. The enemy have for some time vaunted 
the excellence of their fire-arms; but, soldiers, I 
do not think that will be of much avail to them. 
We will give them no time for fire-arms, but attack 
them with the bayonet and with cross muskets; 



and when, with God's help, we shall have beaten 
and compelled them to retreat, we will pursue 
them without intermission, until you find repose 
upon the enemy's soil, and those compensations 
which a glorious and victorious army has a right 
to demand." 

General Benedek distributed his forces along 
the frontier separating Moravia from Saxony and 
Silesia ; he evidently had no conception of the 
rapidity of the Prussian movements, but contemp- 
lated meeting them at his leisure and cutting them 
off in detail, while they were traversing the moun- 
tain passes that separate the two countries, and 
entering at various points the Austrian territory. 

General von Moltke arranged the plan of the 
Prussian campaign in Berlin, and to his remarkable 
foresight and skilful arrangements its crowning 
success is mainly due. But the shrewd combin- 
ations of the able general derived extraordinary 
strength from the unexpected efficiency of the new 
weapon that the Prussian government had adopted, 
the now famous " needle-gun " — a breech-loading 
arm, which, by the fearful rapidity of its fire, utterly 
paralyzed the Austrians, and proved to them a 
terrible engine of destruction. It had been used 
to some extent in the war against Denmark, but its 
marked superiority was not made universally mani- 
fest till now. The promptness of the Prussians in 
action was much commented upon at the time. A 
writer already quoted says, they " were all alert. 
For some years the king has been fighting his Par- 
liament in order to be in a position to fight Austria 
and take possession of Germany, and has thus been 
able to form a regular army. He first used this 
force to overawe his subjects, and compel them to 
submit to the new military organization, and then, 
by calling up the whole adult population of his 
kingdom, he began the war with an overwhelming 
force. Austria suddenly found herself overmatched 
in numbers, while those numbers were trebly mul- 
tiplied by the superior weapons of the foe. The 
Prussians came on at a double quick with ambu- 
lances, transports, and munitions complete, and 
even timbers cut to the size of the railway bridges 
which they expected to find destroyed." Prince 
Frederick Charles, with the first army r , established 
his headquarters at the village of Hirschfeld, 
situated on the banks of the Xeisse, a short dis- 
tance east of the frontier town of Zittau, com- 
manding the outlet of the passes stretching from 
Peichenberg and Friedland, in Bohemia, through 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



77 



the range of mountains into the district in Saxony 
called Lusatia. It overlooks also the railway lines 
from Pardubitz to Bautzen. 

On the following day the first Prussian army 
crossed the Bohemian frontier in two columns, 
one marching by way of Gorlitz, and the other 
by Zittau ; it reached, after a few skirmishes with 
cavalry, the Bohemian town of Reichenberg. On 
the 26th of June an artillery engagement took 
place between an Austrian battery and the Prus- 
sian advanced lines, which resulted in the Aus- 
trians withdrawing to Miinchengratz. Here, on 
the 28th, a desperate struggle ensued, and the 
Austrians, aided by the Saxons, offered a most 
strenuous resistance ; but the Prussians finally 
drove them back, and pursuing them towards i 
Gitschin, formed in position on the high ground 
facing that town. 

While these engagements were taking place the 
second Prussian army, commanded by the Crown 
Prince, had to march into Bohemia from Silesia, 
through the long and narrow passes of the Sude- 
tian mountains. For the purpose of deceiving the 
enemy various feigned movements were made on 
the south-east frontiers of Silesia, the object of the 
Prussians being to lead the enemy to prepare to 
meet them crossing into Bohemia from Neisse, 
through Weidenau. While, however, the Aus- 
trians were looking this way for the approach of 
the invaders, the main body of the second army 
faced to the right, and appeared, with considerable 
alacrity on the west at Nachod and Trautenau in 
Bohemia, having in their march passed the fron- 
tier at Reinerz and Landshut without meeting any 
opposition. The Crown Prince, before traversing 
the defiles of the mountains separating Silesia from 
Moravia, on the 20th June, issued from Neisse 
a general order to his troops, in which he said, 
" Soldiers of the Second Army — You have heard 
the words of our king and commander-in-chief. 
The attempts of his Majesty to preserve peace to 
our country having proved fruitless, with a heavy 
heart, but with strong confidence in the spirit and 
valour of his army, the king has determined to do 
battle for the honour and independence of Prussia, 
and for a new organization of Germany on a power- 
ful basis. I, placed by the grace and confidence of 
my royal father at your head, am proud, as the 
first servant of our king, to risk with you my blood 
and property for the most sacred rights of our 
native country. Soldiers ! for the first time for 



fifty years a worthy foeman is opposed to our 
army. Confident in your prowess, and in our 
excellent and approved arms, it behoves us to 
conquer the same enemy as our greatest king 
defeated with a small army. And now, forward 
with the old Prussian battle cry — ' With God, 
lor King and Fatherland.' " 

The reason why the armies of Prussia debouched 
into the Austrian territory by different roads, will 
be understood when it is known that the troops, 
carriages, &c, of the first army alone, when enter- 
ing Bohemia, on two lines, covered twelve miles 
of road ; and had the second army and the army of 
the Elbe marched the same road, any obstructions 
would have made progress extremely difficult. 
Nor could the Austrian general hope effectually to 
repel the invaders by blocking each pass through 
the mountains, since he would have had to make 
too many divisions in his forces, and have thus 
exposed them to the risk of being beaten in detail. 

Lieutenant-colonel Cooke, in a sketch of this 
campaign, says, " The position of the Austrian 
corps was made known to the Prussians on the 
11th June, by means of a little book which had 
been printed and distributed to the superior officers 
of the Prussian army. In this srnall volume the 
positions of the Austrian corps and their organiza- 
tion were given with great minuteness. Whether 
the information was obtained by the treachery of 
some Austrian, or by the exertions of the Prussian 
Intelligence department, is not known. According 
to this book, the first corps was at Prague, the 
second at Hohenmauth and Zwittau, the third at 
Briinn, the fourth and sixth at Olmiitz, the eighth 
at Auspitz, and the tenth at Briinn. The crown 
prince of Saxony was to join the first Austrian 
corps with his army, and take command of both. 

On the 22nd the first Prussian army, and the 
army of the Elbe, prepared to advance. The first 
army broke up from Gorlitz, and moved to the 
frontier of Bohemia on the Zittau and Friedland 
roads. The army of the Elbe advanced by the 
Eumberg road. On the 23rd the "first army 
entered Bohemia, marching on fine roads towards 
Reichenberg, and after a halt there made another 
advance on the 26th, for the purpose of securing 
the passage of the Iser, over which are bridges at 
Turnau, Podol, and Miinchengratz. The road 
from Reichenberg, by which Prince Frederick 
Charles was advancing, passes through Liebenau, 
and, when near the Iser, forks to the left to the 



78 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



bridge at Turnau, and to the right to the bridge 
at Podol, where the road crosses the river, and 
continues to Munchengratz. The portion of the 
Austrian army opposed to the Prussians on this 
side were behind the lser, in the neighbourhood 
of Miinchengriitz. They consisted of the first 
corps, under Clam Gallas, and the Saxons under 
their crown prince. They held the bridges at 
Munchengratz and at Podol, and had an advanced 
guard consisting of cavalry and artillery at Lieb- 
enau, but they seem to have omitted to occupy 
Turnau in any force. At Liebenau the advanced 
guard of the Prussian army, consisting of the first 
division under Horn, met the Austrian advanced 
guard, and, after some resistance, drove them back. 
The latter retreated across the lser at Turnau, and 
broke the bridge there ; but the Prussians threw 
a bridge over the river, and occupied the place on 
the same night with two divisions. 

At the same time the Prussians marched on 
Podol, which they reached at about eight p.m. A 
severe fight ensued here, which ended in the 
victory of the Prussians, who drove the Austrians 
across the lser, and seized the road and railway 
bridges. They thus secured the passage of that 
river, both at Turnau and Podol. Meanwhile the 
army of the Elbe had continued its advance, and 
on this day had a successful encounter with the 
Austrians at Hiinerwasser. Prince Frederick 
Charles determined to endeavour to turn the Aus- 
trian right flank by an advance along the Turnau 
road, while a portion of his army attacked them in 
front at Podol, and the army of the Elbe assailed 
them at Munchengriitz. He accordingly advanced 
on the morning of the 28th with this object ; but 
the Austrians, after a severe fight, in which they 
lost 2000 men, of whom 1400 were prisoners, 
abandoned their position in time, and retired 
towards Jicin. 

It is now time to turn to the second army, 
which entered Bohemia by three different routes ; 
the first corps by the Trautenau road ; the guards 
by Braunau ; the fifth corps (followed by the 
sixth) by Nachod. It had a more difficult task 
to perform than the first army, as it was nearer 
the bulk of the Austrian forces. Benedek's head- 
quarters were at Bohmish Trlibau on the 25th, 
and were moved a day or two after to Josephstadt. 
He appears to have had three corps immediately 
available, with which to dispute the Crown Prince's 
advance ; the tenth at Trautenau ; the sixth at 



Opoino, to the south of Neustadt ; and the eighth 
in the neighbourhood of Josephstadt. 

It is necessary to trace the passage of the 
left columns of the Prince's army through the 
mountains, and to show how, on the 30th of June, 
it was able to effect a junction with the right and 
central columns on the bank of the Elbe. 

On the 27th of June the first corps of the Crown 
Prince's army, under General von Bonin, seized 
Trautenau, a town lying on the river Aupa, in a 
basin surrounded by mountains. A barricade on 
the bridge having been broken down by the Prus- 
sians, the town was entered and a severe street 
fight ensued, the Austrians being gradually driven 
back from house to house. After a heavy loss on 
both sides, the Austrians were thrust out into the 
open country. There the celebrated AVindischgriitz 
dragoons stood waiting to sweep the Prussians 
from the ground, as soon as they should emerge 
from the town. They met their match, however,. 
in the first Prussian dragoon regiment, composed 
of young Lithuanians, who spend their life on 
horseback. The two regiments advanced to the 
encounter without exchanging a shot, and as they 
closed, both sides raised a cheer, welcoming the 
hug of battle. For a few minutes the mass of com- 
batants swayed slowly backwards and forwards, and 
then the Austrians suddenly gave way, scattering 
in their flight and leaving the Prussians masters of 
the field. Mondel's Austrian brigade of infantry, 
posted on the hillside of Capcllenberg, were forced 
to retire by an' attack of Prussian foot. The village 
of Hohenbriick was occupied by the Prussians, and 
so confident of victory was Von Bonin, that he 
declined an offer of assistance made to him by the 
commander of the Prussian guards, who marching 
by way of Stcinthal had reached Qualitch, and 
heard the heavy firing at Trautenau. At three 
o'clock in the afternoon the action seemed to be 
over. Half an hour, however, had scarcely elapsed t 
when the commander of the tenth corps of Aus- 
trians, General Gablenz, advanced with his whole 
force from Pilnikau and attacked the weary Prus- 
sians. After an hour's combat he had retaken the 
village of Hohenbriick, and by five o'clock the 
Prussians had begun to retreat. This operation 
was covered by the forty-third Prussian regiment 
stationed on the hills north of Capcllenberg, and 
supported by the third grenadiers. For some time 
these regiments, at great loss to themselves, stopped 
the Austrian pursuit. General von Bonin intended 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR, 



79 



to hold the line of the Aupa on the north of 
Trautcnau, but Gablenz pressed upon him and he 
was forced to continue his retreat to the position 
he had occupied on the morning of the 27th. 
The first Prussian corps lost in this action, in killed 
and wounded, sixty- three officers and 1214 men, 
while the Austrian tenth corps, owing to the 
murderous effect of the Prussian needle-gun, lost 
196 officers with 5536 men. The victory of the 
muzzle-loader was purchased at a cost well nigh as 
great as that of a defeat. 

The reverse which the Prussians had sustained 
under Von Bonin was promptly rectified by the 
advance of the prince of Wurtemberg from Eypel 
-at the head of the first corps of guards early in 
the morning of the 28th of June. General Gablenz, 
finding his right flank threatened, had to change 
his front, a movement which he protected by the 
heavy fire of sixty-four pieces of artillery that did 
much damage to the advancing Prussians. The 
advance of the latter nevertheless was steadily 
maintained, the Austrians were driven back at 
Burgersdorf, Alt-Rognitz, towards Koniginhof, 
and one brigade into Trautenau itself, which the 
Prussians took by storm, capturing 3000 prisoners 
and a stand of colours. 

To the fifth Prussian corps, which formed the 
head of the left column of the army of the Crown 
Prince, was the most difficult task given. Only one 
narrow road leads from the county of Glatz to 
Nachod, a road which beyond the Bohemian frontier 
runs in a winding course near the town of Nachod, 
through a difficult defile. A corps d'armee, with 
all its trains and baggage advancing by one road, 
forms a column of march twenty miles long. If 
only the combatants themselves and the most 
necessary train, such as ammunition waggons and 
field hospitals, form the corps, it still will stretch 
over ten miles ; so that if the head of the column is 
attacked as it issues from a defile where the troops 
cannot move off the road, the rearmost battalion 
will not be able to support the most advanced 
until four hours have passed. 

In order to insure the safe issue from the moun- 
tain passes, the advanced guard of the fifth corps, 
under General von Lowenfeld, was pushed forward 
as far as Nachod, on the evening of the 26th June. 
The Austrians held the defile with a very weak 
force, and did not stand obstinately in the castle 
of Nachod, so that the Prussian advanced guard 
occupied that strong post with very slight opposi- 



tion. General Bamming, who had been posted 
with the sixth Austrian corps, and a portion of 
the first division of reserve cavalry at Opoino, 
about ten miles to the south of Nachod, marched 
on the 26th towards Skalitz, by order of Feldzeug- 
meister Benedek. The next day the advanced 
guard of the Prussian fifth corps brought on the 
action of Nachod. 

On the 27th, the same day that the first corps 
of the Prussians was defeated at Trautenau, the 
advanced guard of the fifth Prussian corps d'armee 
was, about ten o'clock in the morning, moving out 
of Nachod towards Skalitz, when it was suddenly 
assailed by a heavy fire from the Austrian artillery, 
and two Austrian cuirassier regiments drew up 
across the road to bar the way against the Prussian 
infantry. These were supported by two infantry 
brigades, while a third stood in the rear as a reserve. 
The Prussians were then in a dangerous position, 
for the road through the defile at Nachod behind 
them was choked with the carriages of the artillery, 
and only a few battalions and two squadrons had 
gained the open ground. General von Lowenfeld, 
who commanded the advanced guard, threw his 
infantry into a wood which was beside the road, 
where, protected by the trees to a certain extent 
from the shells of the Austrian guns, they main- 
tained their position until their artillery had cleared 
the defile. At the same time the small body 
of Prussian cavalry who were with the infantry 
charged straight down the road against the centre 
of the line of the cuirassier regiments. The Aus- 
trians numbered eight times as many sabres as the 
Prussians, and their cavalry bore the highest repu- 
tation in Europe. All expected to see the Prussians 
hurled back, broken and destroyed, by their colli- 
sion with the Austrian line, but the result was 
far different; the Prussian squadrons thundered 
down the road, and seemed merely by the speed 
at which they were galloping to cut clean through 
the centre of the fine of cuirassiers. But though 
they were thus far successful in their first onslaught, 
they were quickly assailed in flank and rear by 
overwhelming numbers, and with difficulty escaped 
being cut to pieces. Many, however, managed to 
shake themselves free from the mttie, and, gallop- 
ing back, rallied under the protection of the fire 
of their infantry in the wood. The Austrians 
pressed forward, forcing their foes to retire; and 
it seemed that the mouth of the defile would be 
lost, for the Austrian infantry were quickly coming 



80 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN AVAR. 



up, and were preparing to attack the wood held 
by the Prussians. Thus upon Lowenfeld's bat- 
talions depended not only the safe passage of the 
fifth corps through the defile, but also the preser- 
vation of the whole of the artillery, for so crowded 
with carriages was the road that, had the Austrians 
pressed on, every gun and waggon must have 
fallen into their hands. But the Prussian infantry 
proved worthy of the trust placed in them, and 
nothing availed to dislodge them from the trees, 
though the shells went whistling in quick succes- 
sion through the trunks, and the splinters carried 
away the branches above the heads of the soldiers, 
and tore up the turf beneath their feet. 

The Crown Prince was in Kachod when the 
firing commenced ; he pushed his way with 
difficulty through the crowded defile, and came to 
his advanced guard in order to show himself to his 
soldiers in their time of trial. Behind him fol- 
lowed as quickly as possible the battalions of the 
main body of the corps, and the guns of the artil- 
lery were also pushed forward; but the road was 
long and crowded, and both regiments and guns 
made their way with difficulty. In the meantime 
the Austrians pressed hard upon the little band 
in the wood, and seemed as though they would 
pass it by, and close the defile with their columns. 
But before they could do so the battalions of the 
main body gained the end of the defile, and the 
Prussian guns began to come quickly forward; for 
waggons and all encumbrances had been pushed 
off the road into the ditches, to facilitate the free 
passage of the troops going into action. The 
newly-arrived troops reinforced those in the wood, 
and the artillery replied to the Austrian batteries; 
yet at noon the battle was still stationary, the 
Prussians not having advanced their position since 
the beginning of the fight, and the Austrian cav- 
alry standing prepared to charge the Prussian in- 
fantry if it attempted to move forward on the open 
ground. The Crown Prince knew that on break- 
ing that cavalry line depended the passage of the 
fifth corps into Bohemia, and he sent against it the 
eighth Prussian regiment of dragoons, and the first 
regiment of Uhlans. It was an exciting moment. 
The Prussians, nerved by the importance of the 
issue of their charge, and with the eyes of their 
infantry upon them, sprang forward readily. The 
Austrian horsemen, proud of their high renown, 
and eager to wipe out the memory of the former 
skirmish, also bounded forward as soon as they 



saw the Prussians approaching. The two lines 
met about half way, for one moment formed a 
tangled struggling crowd, and then the Prussian 
Uhlans, with their lance points low and heads 
bent down, were seen pursuing. The most famous 
cavalry in Europe had been overthrown. 

Before and during this charge, both divisions of 
the fifth Prussian corps had cleared the defile; and 
scarcely had the effect of the cavalry charge been 
seen when General Steinmetz, who commanded, 
determined to assume the offensive. The Prus- 
sian infantry and artillery dashed forward after 
their cavalry. Some of the battalions, turning 
aside, marched against the village of Wisokow, 
already in flames from a Prussian shell, with 
their bayonets at the charge. Among the burning 
houses the Austrians waited for them; a sharp 
struggle ensued, but the village was carried, and 
the Austrians driven out. 

In the meantime, the Austrian heavy horsemen 
had rallied, and again returned to the charge. 
This time they advanced with skill as well as 
courage, and bore down upon the flanks of the 
Uhlans; but their approach was seen, and before 
they had reached the Prussian line it had quickly 
changed its front, and met the advancing squad- 
rons face to face. Again the Austrians recoiled, 
but now without a chance of rallying; they were 
broken and scattered, and the Uhlans, spreading 
out in pursuit, went dashing in small knots over 
the plain after them, and captured two guns from 
their horse artillery. This cavalry charge decided 
the fortune of the day, and the Austrians retired, 
pressed by the Prussian infantry. General Stein- 
metz, who commanded the fifth corps, which was 
here engaged, led forward all his troops, having 
only three battalions of the royal regiment in re- 
serve ; and pushed the enemy back. But the most 
of his men, after a long march and severe action, 
being too much fatigued to pursue, were halted, 
and the cavalry, with one or two battalions, alone 
followed up the pursuit, from which they brought 
back two thousand prisoners and three guns, be- 
sides the two taken by the Uhlans. The Crown 
Prince thanked General Steinmetz on the field in 
the name of the king for the victory, and well did 
the general and his troops merit the compliment, 
for all the first part of the action was fought with 
twenty-two battalions against twenty-nine, and 
with an inferior force of cavalry and artillery. 

This victory cost the Prussians a loss of 900 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



81 



men killed and wounded; among the latter were the 
two generals, Von Ollech and Von "Wunck. The 
fifth corps, notwithstanding its march on the 27th 
over fifteen miles through a narrow defile, and an 
engagement that lasted eight hours, was still so 
strong and so confident that General Steinmetz 
resolved to resume the attack without loss of time. 
General Ramming, who had deservedly the 
reputation of being one of the most able and 
talented generals of the imperial army, after Hav- 
ing engaged the Prussians at Nachod with his 
whole force, retreated to Skalitz on the evening 
of the 27th. On arriving at that place he sent 
a despatch to the head-quarters of the army, in 
which he requested that the eighth Austrian 
corps, which was posted at Josephstadt, might 
be allowed to assist him with two brigades. 
Benedek thereupon ordered the eiglith corps to 
advance to Skalitz, and be prepared to engage 
in the first line, while that of General Bamming 
should form its reserve. One brigade of the 
Prussian sixth corps, which was to follow the 
fifth corps through the defile of Nachod, had 
reached Nachod on the evening of the 27th, and 
was ready to advance with General Steinmetz. 
At the same time the Austrian General Ramming, 
who had been reinforced by the eighth corps, 
also advanced from Skalitz in order to drive the 
Prussians back into the defile of Nachod. Hence 
arose the action of Skalitz. 

The Austrians were soon forced to quit the 
offensive, and energetically to assume the defen- 
sive in front of Skalitz, on the road and railway, 
which are flanked on the north and south by 
two woods. The country was entirely unfavour- 
able for the action of cavalry. Either side brought 
up as much force as possible. The battle swayed 
hither and thither, but ultimately the superior 
strength and armament of the Prussian soldier 
told against his weaker antagonist. 

On the north of the railway the thirty-seventh 
and fifty -eiglith Prussian regiments, and the 
twelfth brigade advanced ; while on the south 
the king's own regiment, though exposed to a 
terrible fire of artillery, gained the wood on the 
south of the town, and there succeeded in sus- 
taining the assaults of far superior numbers, until 
the forty-sixth and fifty-second regiments could 
come up to its aid, and join in an attack on 
Skalitz. 

The Austrian position was forced, and the 



Archduke Leopold compelled to fall back to a 
strong position behind the Aupa, where he in- 
tended to hold his ground, supported by his 
numerous artillery. The position was, however, 
carried by the Prussians, after hard fighting, and 
by it they gained the command of the defile of 
the Aupa. General Steinmetz, by this victory, 
captured four thousand prisoners, eight guns, 
and several stands of colours. In the mean- 
time the first Prussian corps had reached Trau- 
tenau, and found the Austrian tenth corps 
posted immediately to the south of the town. 
They attacked them at once, but were driven 
back, and not only failed to recover their ground, 
but were obliged to retire in the night to Liebau. 
The guards on this day had advanced without 
opposition to Eypel and Kosteletz. They had 
offered to come to the assistance of the first 
corps; but, as the day was then favourable to the 
Prussians, their offer had been declined. The 
guards, however, hearing of the check which the 
first corps had received, advanced at three o'clock 
in the morning of the 28th to their assistance. 
They took the Austrians in flank and rear, surprised 
them, and drove them over the Elbe at Neuschloss, 
with immense loss. The fifth corps again advanced, 
and finding the sixth and eighth corps of the 
enemy drawn up at Skalitz to oppose their pro- 
gress, they attacked and defeated them. On the 
actions of the 27th and 28th depended the success 
of the army of Silesia in effecting its passage over 
the mountains of Bohemia. The corps of the guards 
was engaged at Trautenau, the fifth corps at Nachod 
and Skalitz. The Crown Prince, in person, could 
not be present at either action. He was obliged to 
choose a position between the two, whence he could 
proceed to any point where his presence might be 
necessary. He accordingly posted himself on a 
hill near Kosteletz, where the heavy cavalry of the 
guards took up its position on coming through the 
hills, and where it was joined at a later period 
of the day by the reserve artillery of the guards. 
The time passed heavily on that hill of Kosteletz. 
The thunder of cannon rose ever louder from 
Skalitz on the south, and from the direction of 
Trautenau on the north. With anxious ears the 
commander-in-chief and his staff Hstened to the 
progress of the cannonade, and with eager eyes 
scanned the positions of the eddying clouds of 
white smoke which rose from the engaged artil- 
lery. It was the instruction of the Crown Prince, 
L 



82 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



if an unfavourable report of the progress of the 
action on either side was brought to him, to repair 
to that point, and in person to encourage his pressed 
troops. But every orderly officer, every aide-de- 
camp, brought the intelligence that the battles in 
both places were going well for the Prussians. 

At last, between three and four o'clock, the 
commander-in-chief received the positive report 
from General Steinmetz, that he had stormed Ska- 
litz, and driven back two of the enemy's corps. 
No longer had the Crown Prince to give a thought 
to this side. He immediately started for Eypel, 
in order to be present at the action in which the 
guards were engaged. At this place the news 
reached him that the guard had also victoriously 
achieved its task, and not only had forced the de- 
file from Eypel, but had also opened the pass from 
Trautenau. Here, then, were the three issues from 
the mountains, the defiles of Trautenau, Eypel, and 
Xachod, popularly called the gates of Bohemia, 
in the secure possession of the second Prussian 
army, and the junction of the hitherto separated 
corps almost certain to be effected on the following 
day. To accomplish the junction of his united 
army with that of Prince Frederick Charles, the 
Crown Prince ordered the advance the next morn- 
ing to be made as far as the Elbe. The Crown 
Prince had thus successfully brought his whole 
army across the mountains, and had secured as 
trophies 9000 prisoners and twenty-four guns. 

The Austrians and Saxons, on retreating from 
Munchengratz, had taken up an extended position 
to the north-west of Jicin, between Lochow on the 
Munchengratz road, and Diletz on the Turnau 
road. The crown prince of Saxony is said to 
have received from Benedek at noon on this day, 
the 29th, a despatch written on the previous day, 
to the effect that " the third corps would arrive at 
Jicin on the 29th, and that four corps of the main 
army would advance on the 30th against Turnau 
and Lomnitz." The Crown Prince and Clam 
Gallas, therefore, prepared to maintain their posi- 
tions in front of the Jicin. They were attacked 
in force by the Prussians at about three o'clock. 
At seven o'clock in the evening a second message 
was received from Benedek, *' to avoid engaging 
with a superior force, and to effect a junction with 
the main army, by Horitz and Miletin, and that 
the four army corps had in the meantime received 
other instructions." The allied force was, how- 
ever, already engaged with superior numbers, and 



only succeeded in ellccting a retreat in great 
disorder, and with the loss of 5000 men, of whom 
2000 were prisoners. The Prussians entered Jicin 
about midnight. On the same day the army of 
the Elbe made a forward movement towards Jung 
Bunzlaw, and the advanced guard of the first 
division of guards drove the Austrians on this day 
out of Koniginhof, near which place the corps of 
guards encamped. The first corps advanced to 
Pilnikau, the fifth corps towards Gradlitz, defeating 
three brigades of the fourth Austrian corps at 
Schweinschadel, and forcing them to retreat to 
Jeromir. On the 30th the first Prussian army 
was concentrated round Jicin, where it opened 
communication with the second army, which was 
between Arnau and Gradlitz, the head-quarters 
of the Crown Prince being at Prausnitz, the sixth 
corps having already joined the second army from 
Xachod. 

Benedek had taken up his position along the 
railroad fronting the Elbe, between Koniginhof 
and Josephstadt; but the capture of Jicin having 
exposed his left flank, he quitted his position on 
the morning of the 1st July, and prepared to take 
up a new one behind the Bistritz. 

The strategical operation of concentrating their 
armies on the other side of the frontier, may now 
be said to have been successfully accomphshed by 
the Prussians; for although the junction was only 
actually effected on the field of Koniggratz, yet 
they were now sufficiently near to afford each 
other mutual support in case of attack. Before 
entering upon the description of the battle fought 
on that field, it will be well to review the opera- 
tions on both sides which led to it. 

The operation which the Prussians undertook 
was, as before stated, a dangerous one. They 
entered the mountains at points sixty or seventy 
miles apart, separated by lofty mountain ranges, 
and allowing of no lateral communication, and 
they had to concentrate their armies on some point 
in the plain which was held by the Austrians. 

The control of the operations is generally at- 
tributed to General von Moltke. At Berlin the 
telegraph wires flashed to him from day to day 
the positions of the armies, and he was able to 
regulate their movements so that they should 
advance by proportionate steps. Had one of the 
armies met with so serious a check as to have 
compelled it to retreat, he would probably have 
prevented the others from being compromised by 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



83 



too forward an advance; and the danger of any 
serious disaster was much diminished by this use 
of the telegraphic wires. To adopt a homely pro- 
verb, he would not let the hand be stretched out 
farther than the arm could bring it back. But 
the most important questions in considering the 
danger and merit of the movements are, how far 
was the Austrian general prepared to meet them, 
and what knowledge had the Prussian generals of 
their enemy's positions? It has been shown that 
the best situation for the Austrian general would 
be to have the enemy advancing on him at unequal 
distances, to keep the one farthest off in check, and 
to throw himself on the other and crush it before 
it could receive assistance ; and an additional ele- 
ment of success would be, that he should be able 
to advance on the army nearest him without throw- 
ing open his communications to the other. 

On July 1 the Crown Prince issued a general 
order from Prausnitz, in which the brief events 
of this famous campaign are heralded forth, but 
without arrogance or vain boasting. " But a few 
days," he said, " have elapsed since our entering 
Bohemia, and already brilliant victories have been 
won, giving us command over the Elbe, and 
enabling us to effect a junction with the first 
army. With this our primary task is fulfilled. 
The brave fifth corps d'armee, under the command 
of its heroic leader, with distinguished gallantry, 
on three successive days defeated three different 
corps of the enemy. The guards gave battle 
twice, each time discomfiting the enemy with 
signal triumph. The first corps d'armee, under 
the most trying circumstances, displayed extraor- 
dinary hardihood. Five colours, two standards, 
twenty guns, and 8000 prisoners, have been cap- 
tured by us, added to which are many thousand 
dead and wounded, proving the total loss of the 
foe to be greater than can now be calculated. 
We, too, regret the loss of many a brave comrade, 
removed by death or wounds from our ranks. 
The consciousness of dying for king and country, 
and as victors, will have given them comfort in 
death, and will tend to alleviate the anguish of 
the sufferers. I pray God to grant future victories 
to our arms. I thank the generals and officers, as 
well as soldiers, of the second army, for their gal- 
lantry in battle and their steadiness in overcoming 
the most adverse circumstances, and I am proud to 
lead such troops." 

As before observed, Benedek had taken up his 



position, on July 1, fronting the Elbe, between 
Koniginhof and Josephstadt ; but Count Clam 
Gallas having attacked the Prussians contrary 
to orders, was driven out of his position, pursued 
by the victorious Prussians through the town of 
Gitschin, and followed the next day by their 
cavalry to the river Bistritz. The consequence 
was that General Benedek's left flank at Dubenec 
was exposed, and he was compelled to order his 
army to retire in the direction of Kb'niggratz. In 
the words of " a special correspondent," Benedek, 
who had taken up a strong position, with his 
centre near Dubenec, his left towards Miletin, and 
his right covered by the river and by Josephstadt, 
found himself in the twinkling of an eye placed 
in a position of the greatest danger; his left was 
" in the air." The Prussians were not only on his 
left, but in his rear; and at the same time another 
great army was marching to effect its junction 
with them in a direction where he was altogether 
exposed. He instantly wheeled back his left and 
centre, and then retiring his right, took up a 
fine at Koniggriitz at right angles to the line he 
had occupied to the west of Josephstadt. 

Fully aware of the dangers to which his new 
position exposed him, Benedek seems to have 
questioned the morale of his troops; for prior to 
the impending battle he sent a telegram to the 
emperor at Vienna, bearing the foreboding words, 
" Sire, you must make peace." 

The arrival of the king of Prussia, on the 2nd 
July, at Gitschin, had a twofold effect, inspirit- 
ing his already elated troops, who, flushed with 
conquest, were prepared to triumph over all im- 
pediments. It also had a salutary influence over 
the tributary states through which his legions had 
marched. The authorities of Gitschin drew up a 
petition and laid it before him, when his Majesty 
thus addressed them : — " I carry on no war against 
your nation, but only against the armies opposed 
to me. If, however, the inhabitants will commit 
acts of hostility against my troops without any 
cause, I shall be forced to make reprisals. My 
troops are not savage hordes, and require simply 
the supplies necessary for subsistence. It must be 
your care to give them no cause for just complaint. 
Tell the inhabitants that I have not come to make 
war upon peaceable citizens, but to defend the 
honour of Prussia against insult." 

On July 2 the disposition of the combined 
armies of Prussia was as follows : — The first 



84 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



army, commanded by Prince Frederick Charles, 
formed the centre ; the Elbe army, commanded 
by General Herwarth, the right; and the second 
army, commanded by the Crown Prince, the left 
wing. The seventh division marched in front 
of the first army, through Goritz, Czerkwitz, and 
Sadowa, to effect a junction with the Crown 
Prince's right wing. The eighth division marched 
upon Milowitz, its destination being Koniggratz. 
The second army was to base its operations upon 
Donalitz, south of Sadowa. The third army corps 
formed the centre reserve force. The Elbe army 
advanced from Smidar towards Xechanitz. The 
Crown Prince's army was directed from Kb'nigin- 
hof, in a direct line, upon Koniggriitz. 

The Austrian army was extended on a range of 
small hills between Smiritz and Xechanitz, and 
ranged over an extent of about nine miles ; the 
position of the centre was on a hill, on which is 
situate the village of Klum, which formed the key 
of the manoeuvres; the site was, moreover, dis- 
tinguished by a group of trees. 

The scene of the memorable battle fought here 
has been well described by one who had the 
advantage of being an eye-witness of the conflict 
with the army of Austria, and who obtained a 
complete prospect of the scene from the top of a 
tower in the stronghold of Koniggratz. 

Lying nearly north of Koniggratz, says this 
writer, is Josephstadt; but there was nothing going 
on in thatdirection ateighto'clock. From the neigh- 
bourhood of Josephstadt a continuous line of low 
undulating hills, with plateau-like tops, or of roll- 
ing fields, extends from the right till it slopes 
away on the left into the meadows watered by 
the Elbe. Beyond this line, again, and running 
nearly parallel with the first, about half way where 
it recedes towards the west and north, is a similar 
ridge, appearing to be of greater elevation. Fur- 
ther back is still the picturesque broken country, 
formed by the projecting spurs and lower ranges 
of the Fuesengebirge. This must be taken as a 
general description of the appearance of the land- 
scape from the spot where I stood. There are 
many cross valleys permeating both ridges towards 
the Elbe, and on both there are hills or hillocks, 
some almost like tumuli, on which villages and 
their little churches nestle in the woods. In the 
valley between the first and second ridge runs the 
Bistritz rivulet, on which Sadowa and Xechanitz 
are situated. It is traversed nearly at right angles 



by the main road from Jicin to Koniggratz. In 
the valley between the first ridge and the rolling 
ground which lies towards the Elbe runs a road 
from Smiritz, or Smiric, to Koniggratz, coming 
out on the Jicin road; and more to the west is 
another road, branching from the Jicin road, and 
running by Xechanitz to the main road between 
Prague and Koniggratz. There are numerous other 
small roads, connecting the nests of villages which 
are to be seen in all -directions. Immediately 
below the city of Koniggriitz the land is level 
and marshy; but towards Smiritz, which is nearly 
halfway to Josephstadt, there is a projecting spur 
approaching the river, which is one outshoot of 
the first line of hills, and thence in front of us 
from left to right a gradual elevation from the 
river takes place, in a series of irregular terraces. 
On the top of this first ridge there is the village 
named Smiritz. This is near the right of the 
scene of the battle. Then the ridge runs south- 
westward (to the left) without any more remark- 
able object on the sky-line than a very large tree, 
which stands quite alone. There are several 
villages on the inner side of the slope between 
Koniggratz and the river. From the big tree the 
line continues to the left hand till about the centre, 
where its undulating contour is broken by a 
wooded knoll or hill, rising rather steeply, on 
which is placed the church and village of Klum, 
or Chlum, embowered in thick trees and gardens. 
Thence to the left the line of the ridges is de- 
pressed and carried towards the village of Xech- 
anitz, and gets lost in broken hills, among which 
are, or rather were, villages unknown to our 
geographers ; now heaps of cinders and ashes, 
surrounded by dead and dying, for these were 
the very centres of the tremendous battle. The 
army with which General Benedek had to defend 
his position consisted of at least 225,000 men; 
but a large deduction must be made for the 
baggage guards, the various escorts, the garrisons 
of Josephstadt and Koniggratz, the sick and 
those tired by marching, and the killed, wounded, 
and prisoners in recent actions; so that probably 
he had not more than 190,000, or 195,000, actually 
in hand. The ground he had to cover from right 
to left was about nine miles in length. On his 
extreme left in his first line, near the rear of 
Xechanitz and towards the Prague road, he put 
the Saxons; the tenth army corps, under Field- 
marshal Lieutenant Gablenz ; the third corps d'armee, 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



under Field-marshal Lieutenant Count Tliun; the 
fourth army corps, under Field-marshal Lieutenant 
Count Festetics (who was wounded early in the 
day); and the second army corps, under Field- 
marshal Lieutenant Archduke Ernest — were placed 
from left to right on the slope on the second range 
or ridge. His second line and his reserves con- 
sisted of the eighth corps d'arme'e, under Field- 
marshal Lieutenant the Archduke Leopold; the 
first army corps was under Cavalry-general Count 
Clam Gallas, and the sixth army corps under 
Field-marshal Lieutenant Ramming. He had at 
his disposal a grand army of cavalry, composed of 
the first light cavalry division, under General- 
major Edelsheim; the second light cavalry division, 
under Count Taxis; the first heavy cavalry divi- 
sion, under the prince of Holstein; the second 
heavy cavalry division, under General - major 
Faitseck; and the third heavy cavalry division, 
under General -major Count Coudenhove. His 
artillery consisted of about 540 guns. 

The Prussian cavalry and horse-artillery were 
preparing early in the morning of the 3rd of 
July to commence the attack, and by seven 
o'clock they commenced their advance down the 
declivity towards the Bistritz. Here the guns of 
the Austrians commenced playing upon them, from 
a battery near the village of Sadowa, at a point 
where the main road crosses the little river. 
The seventh division of Prussian artillery bom- 
barded the Austrian right, directing their fire to 
the village of Benatek, and from the centre of both 
lines a fearful cannonade was commenced, and 
equally sustained; neither side appearing to give 
way. A writer who witnessed the battle from the 
Prussian side, says: — 

While the cannonade had been going on, some 
of the infantry had been moved down towards the 
river, where they took shelter from the fire under 
a convenient undulation of ground. The eighth 
division came down on the left-hand side of the 
causeway, and under the cover of the rising 
ground formed its columns for an attack on the 
village of Sadowa ; while the third and fourth divi- 
sion, on the right-hand side of the road, prepared to 
storm Dohilnitz and Mokrowens. A short time 
before their preparations were complete, the village 
of Benatek, on the Austrian right, caught fire, 
and the seventh Prussian division made a dash 
to secure it. The Austrians, however, were not 
driven out by the flames, and here for the first 



time in the battle was there hand-to-hand fighting. 
The twenty-seventh regiment led the attack, and 
rushed into the orchards of the village, where the 
burning houses having separated the combatants, 
they poured volley after volley at each other 
through the flames, until the Prussians found 
means to get round the burning houses, and 
taking the defenders in the reverse, forced them 
to retire with the loss of many prisoners. 

It was ten o'clock when Prince Frederick 
Charles sent General Stuhnapl to order the attack 
on Sadowa, Dohilnitz, and Mokrowens. The 
columns advanced covered by skirmishers, and 
reached the river bank without much loss; but 
from thence they had to fight every inch of 
their way. The Austrian infantry held the 
bridges and villages in force, and fired fast upon 
their enemies as they approached. The Prussians 
could advance but slowly along the narrow ways 
and against the defences of the houses ; and the 
volleys sweeping through their ranks seemed to 
mow the soldiers down. The Prussians fired much 
more quickly than their opponents, but they could 
not see to take their aim; the houses, trees, and 
smoke from the Austrian discharges shrouding 
the villages in obscurity. Sheltered by this, the 
Austrian jagers fired blindly at the places where 
they could tell by hearing that the attacking 
columns were, and the shots told tremendously on 
the Prussians in their close formation. The latter, 
however, unproved their positions, although slowly, 
and by dint of sheer courage and perseverance; 
for they lost men at every yard of their advance, 
and in some places almost paved the way with 
wounded. To help their infantry, the Prussian 
artillery turned its fire, regardless of the enemy's 
batteries, on the villages, and made tremendous 
havoc among the houses. Mokrowens and Dohil- 
nitz both caught fire, and the shells fell quickly 
and with fearful effect among the defenders of 
the flaming hamlets. The Austrian guns on their 
side also played upon the attacking infantry, but 
at this time these were sheltered from the fire by 
the intervening houses and trees. 

In and around the villages the fighting continued 
for nearly an hour, until the Austrian infantry, 
driven out by a rush of the Prussians, retired, 
but only a short way up the slope into a line with 
their batteries. One wood above Sadowa was 
strongly held, and another stood between Sadowa 
and Benatek, teeming with riflemen, to bar the 



86 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN AVAR. 



way of the seventh division. But General Fransky, 
who commanded this division, was not to be easily 
stopped. He sent his infantry at the wood, and 
turned his artillery on the Austrian batteries. The 
assailants, firing into the trees, found they could 
not make any impression, for the defenders were 
concealed, and musketry fire was useless against 
them. Then Fransky letting them go, they dashed 
in with the bayonet. The Austrians waited for 
the onslaught, and in the wood above Benatek was 
fought out one of the fiercest combats known in that 
war. The twenty-seventh Prussian regiment went 
in nearly 3000 strong, with 90 officers, and came out 
on the further side with only 2 officers and between 
300 and 400 men standing ; all the rest were killed 
or wounded. The other regiments of the division 
also suffered much, though not in the same propor- 
tion ; but the wood was carried. The Austrian 
line being now driven in on both flanks, its com- 
mander formed a new line of battle a little higher 
up the hill, round Lipa, still holding the wood 
which lies above Sadowa. 

General Herwarth, the commander of the 
Prussian army of the Elbe, on the left of the 
Austrians, was also engaged in an attack on the 
Saxon troops at the village of Nechanitz, situate 
on the Bistritz, seven miles from Sadowa. The 
Saxons fought bravely, but were at length driven 
back slowly and with great difficulty towards Lipa, 
contesting every inch of the ground with great 
tenacity. The Austrians had placed artillery in a 
wood above the villages of Sadowa and Dohilnitz, 
which being fired through the trees occasioned con- 
siderable losses in the ranks of the Prussian infantry, 
now making a rapid advance to carry the wood. 
After a vigorous attack the Austrians were driven 
back ; but at once forming their batteries beyond 
the trees, their fire told terribly on the Prussians, 
who were advancing in the wood. 

The whole battle line of the Prussians was 
unable to gain more ground, being obliged to fight 
hard to retain the position it had won. At one 
time it seemed as if they w T ould lose that. Some 
of their guns had been dismounted by the Austrian 
fire; in the wooded ground the needle gun had not 
a good field for the display of its superiority, and 
the infantry fighting was very equal. 

Herwarth, too, seemed checked upon the right ; 
the smoke of his musketry and artillery, which had 
hitherto been pushing forward steadily, stood still 
for a time. Fransky's men, cut to pieces, could 



not be sent forward to attack the Sadowa wood, 
for they would have exposed themselves to be 
attacked in the rear by the artillery on the right 
of the Austrian line formed in front of Lipa. All 
the artillery was engaged except eight batteries, 
and these had to be retained in case of a reverse ; 
for at one time the firing in the Sadowa wood, 
and of the Prussian artillery on the slope, seemed 
almost as if drawing back towards Bistritz. The 
first army was certainly checked in its advance, if 
not actually being pushed back. 

It was an eminently critical moment, and the 
Prussian generals were waiting in trepidation for 
tidings of the Crown Prince, who was to attack 
the Austrians on the right. This incident recalls 
that of Napoleon on the field of Waterloo, anx- 
iously awaiting the approach of Grouchy, but with 
better results for the Prussians than for the French . 
The Austrian centre was retained by the third 
and fourth corps in front of Klum and Lipa, 
constrained to make a backward movement with 
the first corps in reserve, as was also the sixth 
corps, on the right facing Smiralitz. The army 
of the Crown Prince came up at about half past 
one o'clock in the afternoon, and attacked the 
right flank of the Austrians. The village of 
Klum had caught fire, and the troops of the Prus- 
sian centre were making desperate efforts to drive 
the Austrians out of it, when the latter suddenly 
found their right exposed to a withering cross fire 
from the advancing army of the Crown Prince. 
The Austrian army was now in a critical position. 
The observer who was watching the action from 
the top of the tower in Ko'niggratz says, " Sud- 
denly a sputtering of musketry breaks out of the 
trees and houses of Klum right down on the Aus- 
trian gunners, and on the columns of infantry 
drawn up on the slopes below. The gunners fall 
on ail sides, their horses are disabled, the firing 
increases in intensity, the Prussians press on over 
the plateau. This is an awful catastrophe; two 
columns of Austrians are led against the village, 
but they cannot stand the fire, and after three 
attempts to carry it, retreat, leaving the hillside 
covered with the fallen. It is a terrible moment. 
The Prussians see their advantage, and enter at 
once into the very centre of the position. In vain 
the Austrian staff officers fly to the. reserves, and 
hasten to call back some of the artillery from the 
front. The dark blue regiments multiply on all 
sides, and from their edges roll perpetually spark- 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



87 



ling musketry. Their guns hurry up, and from 
the slope take both the Austrian main body on the 
extreme right, and the reserves in flank. They 
spread away to the woods near the Prague road, 
and fire into the rear of the Austrian gunners. . . 
The lines of dark blue which came in sight from 
the right teemed from the vales below, as if 
the earth yielded them. They filled the whole 
background of the awful picture, of which 
Klum was the centre. They pressed down on 
the left of the Prague road. In square, in 
column, deployed, or wheeling hither and thi- 
ther, everywhere pouring in showers of deadly 
precision, penetrating the whole line of the 
Austrians, still they could not force their stubborn 
enemy to fly. On all sides they met brave but 
unfortunate men, ready to die if they could do no 
more. At the side of the Prague road the fight 
went on with incredible vehemence. The Aus- 
trians had still an immense force of artillery, and 
although its concentrated fire swept the ground 
before it, its effect was lost in some degree by 
reason of the rising ground above, and at last by 
its divergence to so many points, to answer the 
enemy's cannon. . . Cheste and Visa were now 
burning, so that from right to left the flames of 
ten villages and the flashes of guns and musketry 
contended with the sun that pierced the clouds, for 
the honour of illuminating the seas of steel, and 
the fields of carnage. It was three o'clock. The 
efforts of the Austrians to occupy Klum, and free 
their centre had failed ; their right was driven down 
in a helpless mass towards Koniggratz, quivering 
and palpitating, as shot and shell tore through it. 
Alles ist verloren! "All is lost!" Artillery still 
thundered with a force and violence which might 
have led a stranger to such scenes to think no 
enemy could withstand it. The Austrian cavalry, 
however, hung like white thunder clouds on the 
flanks, and threatened the front of the Prussians, 
keeping them in square and solid columns. But 
already the trains were streaming away from 
Koniggratz, placing the Elbe and Adler between 
them and the enemy. 

General von Gablenz, a brief while after this 
terrible defeat, was despatched from the Austrian 
centre to the Prussian head-quarters, to solicit an 
armistice ; but his proposal was at once rejected, 
as the entire ranks of Prussia were preparing to 
advance. Prince Frederick Charles directed his 
army for the road leading to Briinn, the capital of 



Moravia, the army of the Crown Prince took the 
course to Olmiitz, and the army of the Elbe, under 
General Herwarth, proceeded to advance westward 
toward Iglau. 

The extreme importance of this battle, whether 
viewed in a political or military light, will be more 
strikingly apparent as time goes on. Variously 
named Koniggratz and Sadowa, the conflict has 
been the theme of much military criticism. One 
anonymous writer says, " The Austrians should 
have been victors here, if positions could win a 
battle, for better positions they could hardly have 
had. Their line extended over nine miles, and was 
throughout one stretch of high ground; while the 
Prussians advanced through a country rather un- 
favourable — through woods and villages that 
afforded cover here and there. Benedek had offered 
battle at Debenec, but the Prussians having the 
option in their hands, declined the conflict. This 
new position left them no choice, and they boldly 
accepted the gage, though defeat would have been 
annihilation. They had taken the measure of the 
Austrian commander; they knew their own strength, 
and they made their dispositions with a view to 
victory, not to provide for a retreat. Their line 
extended from Jicin to Skalitz, but it was of such 
length that the two divisions wore practically dis- 
tinct armies, and for some hours were without 
communication. The centre of the Austrian line 
was Klum, the head- quarters were at Koniggratz, 
a city at the junction of the Elbe and Adler, 
strongly fortified, and surrounded by well-filled 
moats, while a certain area round was inundated 
by the river. The Austrian line covered the rail- 
way station ; and while its left was guarded by the 
fortress of Josephstadt, Koniggratz protected the 
right. Their force was about 200,000, and that of the 
Prussians 260,000, a numerical superiority greatly 
enhanced by the Prussian arm, the needle gun. 
The battle commenced about eight in the morning ; 
the Austrians having the advantage till about two 
o'clock, when a fatal oversight gave the victory to 
the Prussians. The whole line was engaged by 
ten o'clock, though the division of the Crown 
Prince had not come up, as it was to approach the 
field by a detour, so as to fall on the Austrian line 
at Lipa. The Prussians attacked with superior 
numbers, yet the Austrians faced the needle-gun 
without availing themselves of the cover afforded 
by their position, and again and again drove the 
enemy back. In like manner the Austrian artillery 



88 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



did yeoman's service in these onslaughts ; but 
from being too closely packed the eight-pounder 
field-pieces, which are very effective and very well 
served, did not produce the impression which they 
are capable of making. On the other hand, the 
Prussian needle-gun was very efficient, killing at 
close quarters, and disabling where it did not kill, 
though owing to the smallness of the ball the 
wounds were of a character easily cured. The 
Austrian column bore steadily down through vol- 
leys of shot, and through flaming villages, and 
everywhere beat back the advancing Prussians, 
who at eleven o'clock were flung panting on the 
slopes of the opposite hills. 

" The Prussians then called in their reserves, and, 
urged on by their officers, made a furious rush on 
the Austrian left and centre, at the same time 
dashing round the Prague road, with the intention 
of turning the left. They were met with equal 
ardour, and a desperate conflict ensued, when the 
Prussians gave way, and were driven further back 
than before. There was a momentary pause in the 
struggle. The smoke gathered thick, and hid the 
armies from each other; then cleared to show 
the Prussians again reinlbrced, and once more in 
battle array. The next assault shook the wearied 
Austrians ; but they yielded no ground, and 
after a murderous conflict the Prussians recoiled. 
Here both sides brought up their artillery, and 
the smoke again favoured the Prussians, who 
bore down on the Austrian right with irresistible 
force. The Austrians, victorious on the left and 
centre, were pushing their advantage, when the 
success of the Prussians on their right threatened 
to sever them from Kb'niggriitz. At this juncture 
the Prussians were joined by their second army, 
under the Crown Prince, who advanced on the 
very point the Austrians had left open. The gap 
seems to have reminded the Prussian commander 
of Key's project at Waterloo, where the French 
general, deluded by the ground, thought the Eng- 
lish centre unguarded, and rushed to destruction. 
Xor was the centre at Sadowa really unwatched. 
The Austrian commander could have confronted 
the Prussian battalions with 20,000 of the finest 
cavalry in Europe, cavalry which had already 
saved his army, and might now have given it the 
victory. But this supreme moment found the 
general at the end of his resources, hesitating and 
bewildered. With the battle won on the left, and 
in his own hands on the rifjht, he allowed the 



enemy to reach his centre — to pierce the heart of 
his army, and thus lost the dav. The Austrians 
retreated hurriedly, but not in disorder, and the 
cavalry, which might have secured the victory, 
kept the victors at a respectful distance. Benedek 
was still at the head of an army, though he left 
a third of it on the field, or in the hands of the 
enemy, and his abandoned guns were enough to 
equip another army for a campaign." 

Captain Webber, K.E., who visited the scene of 
carnage, says:—" On the tenure of the woods and 
villages depended the success of the Austrians in 
the battle on the west front. The former appears 
to have been retained long after the latter had been 
evacuated. The villages were not placed in a proper 
state of defence, the entrances not having been even 
closed. Abattis were insufficiently used, and the 
strong stone buildings, which were quite capable 
of resisting field artillery, not loopholed. As 
some portion of the Austrian army was at 
Sadowa two days before the battle this would have 
been practicable. The defences of Chlum were 
incomplete, the north and north-west only being 
touched. The Crown Prince attacked it on the 
north-east side. Breastworks without abattis may 
be useful to cover a handful of determined men, 
but advancing troops will run over them. If 
possible, the one kind of defence should never be 
used without the other." 

The battle, indeed, was a great victory for the 
Prussians, though its full advantages were not 
known by them until the following day. One 
hundred and seventy-four guns, twenty thousand 
prisoners, and eleven standards, fell into the hands 
of the conquerors. The total loss of the Austrian 
army was nearly 40,000 men, while that of the 
Prussians was not 10,000. The morale of the 
Austrian army was destroyed, and their infantry 
found that in open column they could not stand 
against the better-armed Prussians. The Austrians 
had hoped to be able to close with the bayonet, 
and so neutralize the effects of the needle-gun ; but 
the idea of superiority in the use of the bayonet, 
in which the Austrian army prided itself, is one of 
those vanities which are common to every nation; 
and this was proved, that at close quarters the 
stronger men of Prussia invariably overcame the 
lighter and smaller Austrians. The number of 
cartridges fired by the Prussian army in the battle 
barely exceeded one per man on the ground. 
Hardly any soldier fired so many as ninety, and 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



89 



few more than sixty. Tne average number of 
rounds fired by the artillery of Prince Frederick 
Charles' army was forty-two per gun, and no gun of 
that army fired more than eighty rounds. Excellent 
as was the Prussian artillery it would not have won 
the battle without brave men to guide and follow 
it. The quality of the Prussian troops may be 
illustrated by one anecdote. On the evening of 
the battle an officer of the Ziethen hussars, who 
were forward in the pursuit, rode alone as far as the 
gates of Koniggratz, and finding there was no sentry 
outside, rode in. The guard, immediately on see- 
ing him in his Prussian uniform, turned out and 
seized him, when, with admirable presence of mind, 
he declared he had come to demand the capitu- 
lation of the fortress. He was conducted to the 
commandant, and made the same demand to him, 
adding that the town would be bombarded if not 
surrendered within an hour ; the commandant, 
unconscious that he was not dealing with a legiti- 
mate messenger, courteously refused to capitulate ; 
but the hussar was conducted out of the town, 
passed through the guard at the entrance, and got 
off safely to his troop. The vigilance of the Aus- 
trians was often at fault. From the high bank 
above Kb'niginhof, a staff-officer, lying hidden in 
the fir-wood, could almost with the naked eye have 
counted every Prussian gun, every Prussian soldier 
that the Crown Prince moved towards Miletin. 
Yet the arrival of the second Prussian army on 
the scene of action seems to have been a complete 
surprise. The eyes of the Austrian army failed 
on more than one occasion during the campaign. 
The inferiority of their patrol system to that of 
the Prussians seems to have been due to the want 
of military education among the officers to whom 
patrols were intrusted. In the Prussian army 
special officers of high intelligence were always 
chosen to reconnoitre — properly so, for the task 
is no easy one. An eye unskilled, or a mind un- 
tutored, can see little, when a tried observer detects 
important movements. The Prussian system never 
failed, never allowed a surprise. The Austrians 
were repeatedly surprised, and taken unprepared. 
The telegram in which Benedek first announced 
to Vienna the loss of the battle, stated that 
some of the enemy's troops, under cover of the 
mist, estabfished themselves on his flank, and so 
caused the defeat. How the Prussian guards 
were allowed to get into Chlum appears inexpli- 
cable. From the top of Chlum church tower the 



whole country can be clearly seen as far as the 
top of the high bank of the Elbe. A staff-officer 
posted there, even through the mist, which was 
not so heavy as is generally supposed, could have 
easily seen any movement of the troops as far as 
Choteborek. A person near Sadowa could see 
quite distinctly Herwarth's attack at Hradek, and, 
except during occasional squalls, there was no limit 
to the view over the surrounding country except 
where the configuration of the ground or the heavy 
smoke overcame the sight. The top of Chlum 
church spire generally stood out clear over the 
heavy curtain of hanging smoke which, above the 
heads of the combatants, fringed the side of the 
Lipa hill from Benatek to Nechanitz. So little 
apprehensive, however, was Benedek of an attack 
on his right, that he stationed no officer in the 
tower; and himself took up a position above Lipa, 
where any view towards the north was entirely 
shut out by the hill and houses of Chlum. No 
report appears to have reached him of the advance 
of the guards, yet they were engaged at Hore- 
nowes, and passed through Maslowed. From that 
village, without opposition, they marched along 
the rear of the Austrian line, apparently unob- 
served, until they flung themselves into Chlum 
and Kosberitz. It seems that the fourth corps, to 
whom the defence of the ground between Maslowed 
and Nedelitz was intrusted, seeing their comrades 
heavily engaged with Fran sky in the Maslowed 
wood, turned to their aid, and pressing forwards 
towards Benatek, quitted their proper ground. A 
short time afterwards the second Austrian corps 
was defeated by the Prussian eleventh division, 
and retreated towards the bridge at Lochenitz. 
The advance of the fourth corps, and the retreat 
of the second, left a clear gap in the Austrian line, 
through which the Prussian guards marched un- 
molested, and without a shot seized the key of the 
position. Once installed they could not be ejected, 
and the battle was practically lost to the Austrians. 
The Prussian pursuit was tardy, and not pushed, 
for the men were fatigued, night was coming on, 
and the Prussian cavalry of the first army had suf- 
fered severely. The Austrian cavalry was moving 
sullenly towards Pardubitz. The Elbe lay between 
the retreating Austrians and the victorious Prus- 
sians. The victory, although fortuitously decisive, 
was not improved to such advantage as it ought 
to have been. 

Before proceeding to review the events which, 



90 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



in the meantime, were taking place in the western 
theatre of war, it is requisite to cast a glance upon 
the operations of the two Prussian corps which had 
been left to guard the province of Silesia. On the 
concentration of the Austrian army in Bohemia, 
a corps of 6000 men, under General Trentin- 
aglia, had been left at Cracow. Two Prussian in- 
dependent corps had been stationed at Ratibor and 
Nicolai, to shield south-eastern Silesia against a 
probable attack from this corps. The former was 
commanded by General Knobelsdorf, and consisted 
of the sixty-second regiment of infantry, the second 
regiment of Uhlans, a lew battalions of landwehr, 
and one battery. The latter, under General Count 
Stolberg, was formed of landwehr alone, and mus- 
tered six battalions, two regiments of cavalry, two 
companies of jiigers, and one battery. The corps 
of Knobelsdorf was to defend the Moravian frontier, 
that of Stolberg the Galician ; and both, in case of 
attack by overwhelming numbers, were to fall back 
under the protection of the fortress of Kosel. On 
the 21st June, Stolberg's corps obtained its first im- 
portant although bloodless success. On that day it 
marched rapidly, many of the men being conveyed 
in waggons, to Pruchna, blew up the railway viaduct 
there, and so destroyed the communication between 
General Trentinaglia and the main Austrian army. 

On the 24th and 26th June, as well as on the 
intermediate days, several parties of Austrians made 
demonstrations of crossing the frontier near Oswie- 
cin, and large bodies of troops appeared to be in 
the act of concentration at that place. General 
Stolberg determined to assure himself of the actual 
strength of the enemy there, by a reconnaissance 
in force. To aid this, General Knobelsdorf sent a 
part of his troops to Myslowitz, to cover the rear 
of Stolberg's corps, while it marched on Oswiecin. 
Stolberg, finding in the latter place a considerable 
force of the enemy, seized the buildings of the rail- 
way station, placed them hastily in a state of defence, 
and determined by a long halt here to force the 
Austrians to develop their full force. After he 
had achieved this object, he retired to his position 
near Nicolai. The detachment at Myslowitz had, 
at the same time, to sustain an action there, and 
fulfilled completely its purpose of holding the enemy 
back from Oswiecin. 

On the 30th June, Stolberg's detachment was 
so weakened by the withdrawal of his landwehr 
battalions, which were called up in order to aid in 
the formation of a fourth battalion to every regi- 



ment, that it could no longer hold its own against 
the superior Austrian force near Myslowitz. It re- 
tired accordingly nearer to Ratibor in the direction 
of Plesz, and from this place undertook, in con- 
nection with General Knobelsdorf, expeditions into 
Moravia against Teschen, Biala, and Skotschau, 
annoying the Austrians considerably, and making 
the inhabitants of Moravia regard the war with 
aversion. 

CAMPAIGN IN HANOVER. 

We turn now to the operations in the western 
theatre of the German war. The Prussian troops 
which had invaded Hanover and Hesse-Cassel 
occupied on the 19th June the following positions: 
— The divisions of General Goeben and General 
Manteuffel were in the town of Hanover, and that 
of General Beyer in Cassel. Of the allies of 
Austria the Hanoverian army was at Gottingen, 
the Bavarian in the neighbourhood of Wiirzburg 
and Bamberg; the eighth federal corps in the 
vicinity of Frankfort. The latter consisted of 
the troops of Wiirtemburg, Baden, Hesse Darms- 
tadt, Xassau, and Hesse-Cassel, to which was 
added an Austrian division. The soldiers of 
the (Hanoverian) reserve, and those who had 
been absent on furlough, nobly responded to 
the call of their king, and made their way 
through the country, which was in Prussian pos- 
session, and sometimes even through the lines of 
the enemy, to join the ranks at Gottingen. By 
their firm determination to reach their regiments, 
they afforded an earnest of the gallantry and cour- 
age which they afterwards displayed upon the field 
of battle. On the arrival of these men the army 
at Gottingen mustered about 20,000 combatants, 
with fifty guns. 

Southern Germany expected great deeds of the 
Bavarian army. It might have thrown serious 
difficulties in the way of the Prussian successes, 
had not uncertainty and vacillation pervaded all 
its operations. Prince Charles of Bavaria, the 
commander-in-chief, under whose orders the eighth 
federal corps was also afterwards placed, seems to 
have conducted his campaign without a definite 
strategical object, and without energy in its prose- 
cution. Against him, in command of the Prussian 
army of the Maine, was a general gifted with pru- 
dence and clear foresight, who pursued his aim with 
iron rigour. The Bavarian is a smart soldier in 
time of peace, and conducts himself well in battle; 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



91 



but lie is too much dependent urjon good diet, the 
want of which grievously maims his capacity for 
undergoing the fatigues of war. Nor do the ranks 
of Bavaria contain such intelligence as do those of 
Prussia; for men drawn for military service are 
allowed to provide substitutes, so that only the 
poorer and less educated classes of society furnish 
recruits for the army. The troops had no know- 
ledge of the causes for which they were to shed 
their blood, and in this respect contrasted with the 
Prussian soldiery, which held that the honour, inte- 
grity, even the existence of their Fatherland, was 
in jeopardy. The reader will remember the anec- 
dote current during the recent Rhine campaign, of 
the Bavarian soldier, who, addressing the Crown 
Prince of Prussia after a victory, exclaimed: — 
"Ah! your royal highness, if you had been our 
commander in the last war, we should have 
beaten those pestilent Prussians." The Federal 
troops did not fail in bravery; but no enthusiasm 
thrilled through their ranks. Individual bodies were 
doubtless animated by high courage, and in many 
cases displayed a heroic devotion to their leaders 
and their princes. But the mass did not work 
evenly; a want of harmony existed among its heter- 
ogeneous units, which, together with the clouded 
plans of the federal chiefs, facilitated the task of 
the Prussian general, Von Falckenstein. There was 
also dissension in the federal councils. Prince 
Alexander not only habitually disagreed with his 
superior, Prince Charles, but was often engaged in 
petty squabbles with the lieutenants who commanded 
the different contingents. All these things conduced 
to the catastrophe of the Hanoverian army, which 
marched from its capital almost totally unprepared 
to undertake a campaign. It stood in dire need of 
several days' rest to allow time for the formation of 
a transport train, as well as for the clothing and 
armament of the soldiers of reserve who had been 
recalled to the ranks, and also for the horsing of 
part of the artillery. It was forced on this account 
to halt until the 20th June at Gb'ttingen, and the 
favourable moment for an unmolested march to 
unite with the troops of Bavaria was allowed to 
slip away. The Prussian staff took most prompt 
measures to cut off the Hanoverian retreat, and to 
occupy the principal points on their line of march 
with troops. The duke of Coburg had declared 
openly and decidedly on the side of Prussia, and his 
troops were in consequence at the service of the Prus- 
sian government. On the 20th June Colonel von 



Fabeck, the commandant of the Coburg contingent, 
received a telegraphic order from Berlin, to post 
himself with his two battalions at Eisenach, where 
it was expected the Hanoverians would first attempt 
to break through. Three battalions of landwehr, 
one squadron of landwehr cavalry, and a battery 
of four guns, were sent from the garrison to rein- 
force him. A battalion of the fourth regiment of 
the Prussian guard, which had reached Leipzig on 
the 19th, was also despatched to his aid, a detach- 
ment of which, on the 20th, rendered the railway 
tunnel near Eisenach impassable. By these move- 
ments the king of Hanover was compelled to give 
up the idea of uniting with the Bavarians, and 
instead of marching from Heiligenstadt by Esche- 
wege and Fulda, he, on the 21st, ordered his whole 
army to move upon Gotha, and crossed the Prussian 
frontier with his troops. He took leave of his 
people in a proclamation, in which he mournfully 
expressed his hope soon to return victorious at the 
head of his army, to the land which he was then 
temporarily forced to quit. 

The Hanoverian army reached Langensalza on 
the 24th of June. The force opposed to the 
Hanoverians consisted only of six weak battalions, 
two squadrons, and four guns. There can hardly 
be any question but that, if the king of Hanover- 
had marched rapidly on Gotha that day, Colonel 
von Fabeck would have been quite unable to hold 
his position. But the Hanoverian leaders failed to 
take advantage of this last opportunity. The king 
rejected a proposal made by Colonel von Fabeck, 
that his army should capitulate; but he applied 
to the duke of Coburg, and asked him to act as 
a mediator with the Prussian government. An 
armistice was agreed upon, but upon some mis- 
understanding was quickly violated on the night 
of the 24th by the Hanoverians, who advanced to 
the Gotha and Eisenach Railway, and broke up the 
line near Frotestadt. General von Alvensleben 
then sent a proposal from Gotha to the king of 
Hanover, that he should capitulate. To this no 
answer was returned; but the king expressed a 
wish that General von Alvensleben should repair 
to his camp, in order to treat with him. His wish 
was complied with early on the 25th, when an 
extension of the armistice was agreed upon, and 
General von Alvensleben hurried back to Berlin 
for further instructions. It was not at this time 
the interest of the Prussians to push matters to 
extremities. The Hanoverians seem to have been 



92 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



ignorant of how small a body alone barred the way 
to Bavaria, and to have hoped that time might be 
afforded for aid to reach them. On the night of 
the 24th a messenger was sent to the Bavarian 
head-quarters to report the situation of the Hano- 
verian army, and to solicit speedy assistance. To 
this request Prince Charles only replied that an 
army of 19,000 men ought to be able to cut 
its way through. In consequence of this opinion 
only one Bavarian brigade of light cavalry was 
advanced on the 25th of June to Mciningen, 
in the valley of the Wcrra, while a few Bavarian 
detachments were pushed along the high road as 
far as Vacha. This procedure of Prince Charles 
of Bavaria was alone sufficient to condemn him as 
a general; he held his army inactive, when, by a 
bold advance, not only could he have insured the 
safety of the Hanoverians, but could in all pro- 
bability have captured the whole of the enemy's 
troops at Gotha. Thus he would have saved 
19,000 allies, have captured 6000 of his adver- 
sary's men, have turned the scale of war by 25,000 
combatants, and have preserved to his own cause 
a skilled and highly-trained army, proud of its 
ancient military reputation, and only placed in 
this most precarious and unfortunate position by 
the faults of politicians. 

On the 25 th the Prussians were closing in upon 
the devoted Hanoverians: but telegraphic orders 
were forwarded from Berlin to all their commanders, 
not to engage in hostilities until ten o'clock on the 
morning of the 26th. Colonel von Doring was 
despatched to Langensalza by the Prussian govern- 
ment, with full powers to treat with the king of 
Hanover; he proposed an alliance with Prussia, on 
the basis of the recognition of the Prussian project 
for reform of the Germanic Confederation, and 
of the disbandment by Hanover of its army. To 
these terms King George would not agree ; though 
deserted by his allies, to them he was still faithful, 
and still expected that the Bavarians must come 
to his aid. 

By the morning of the 26th 42,000 Prussians 
were placed on the south, west, and north of this 
devoted army, within a day's march of its position, 
and all hopes of escape into Bavaria, or of aid from 
its southern allies, appeared to be vain. On the 
26th the armistice expired at ten o'clock in the 
morning, but the Prussian commander-in-chief 
did not immediately commence hostilities. His 
dispositions were not yet perfected. The Hano- 



verian army drew more closely together, either 
with the object of accepting battle, or as some 
say, with the intention of moving by Tennstadt, 
and endeavouring to join the Bavarians by a 
circuitous route. In the evening the Hanoverians 
took up a position between the villages of Thams- 
briick, Merxleben, and the town of Langensalza. 
None of these places were well suited for defence, 
and no artificial fortifications were thrown up on 
the southern side of the position, where General 
Flics lay. On the northern side a few insignificant 
earthworks and one battery were erected, to guard 
the rear and right flank of the army against the 
Prussian corps under General Manteuffel, which 
lay in the direction of Miihlhausen. The soldiers 
were weary with marching and privations, but 
eager to join battle with the Prussians, who of late 
years had spoken in a disparaging and patronizing 
tone of the Hanoverian army. The 27th of June 
had been appointed by royal command to be ob- 
served as a solemn day of fast and humiliation 
throughout Prussia, and the Hanoverian leaders 
appear to have imagined that on this account the 
Prussian generals would not attack. In this they 
were deceived, for before evening there had been 
fought the bloody battle of Langensalza. 

The position occupied by the Hanoverian army 
on the morning of the 27th, lay along the sloping 
side of the line of hills which rises from the left 
bank of the river Unstrut. The right wing and 
centre rested on the villages of Thamsbriick and 
Merxleben, the left wing between the villages of 
Xagelstadt and Merxleben. The third brigade 
(Yon Blilow) formed the right wing, the fourth 
brigade (Von Bothmer) the left, while in the 
centre was posted the first brigade (Von der 
Knesebeck), which at the beginning of the action 
was held in rear of the general line. The village 
of Merxleben, and the ground in front of it, was 
occupied by the second brigade (De Vaux), which 
had its outposts pushed as far as Henningsleben, 
along the road to Warza. The artillery and 
cavalry of the reserve were posted behind Merx- 
leben, near the road to Lundhausen, where the 
scanty depots of ammunition and stores were 
established. The front of the position was covered 
by the river, which with its steep banks impeded 
at first the Prussian attack, but afterwards was 
an obstacle to the offensive advance and counter- 
attack of the Hanoverians. 

At about one o'clock on the morning of the 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



93 



27th, the two Coburg battalions, which formed the 
advanced guard of General Flies' column, reached 
Henningsleben, and attacked the Hanoverian out- 
posts there. These withdrew to Langensalza, 
occasionally checking their pursuers by the fire 
of their skirmishers. One Hanoverian battalion 
remained for a short time in Langensalza; but then 
the whole Hanoverian troops, which had been 
pushed along the Gotha road, withdrew across the 
Unstrut to Merxleben, and the Prussians occupied 
Langensalza before ten o'clock. General Flies 
then made his arrangements for an attack on the 
main Hanoverian position. His artillery was very 
inferior numerically to that of the enemy, so he 
relied chiefly on his infanty fire. He sent a small 
column to make a feint against Thamsbrlick, while 
he advanced two regiments of infantry against 
Merxleben, and detached a column of landwehr 
to his right in order to outflank, if possible, and 
turn the Hanoverian left. 

On the Hanoverian side the first gun was fired 
between ten and eleven, from a battery of rifled 
six-pounders attached to the second brigade, and 
posted on the left of Merxleben. The first brigade 
was immediately pushed forward to the support 
of the second brigade, and took up its position on 
the right of that village. By a singular error, the 
Hanoverians failed to hold a wood and bathing- 
establishment, close to the river, on the right 
bank opposite Merxleben. Into these the Prussian 
regiments threw themselves as they advanced 
against the village, and sheltered by the cover, 
they opened a biting musketry fire on the Hano- 
verian gunners and troops near the village. This 
fire caused great loss to the Hanoverians, and 
rendered their subsequent passage of the bridge 
most difficult and dangerous. The Prussian 
columns on the right, pressing forward against 
the Hanoverian left, bore on their line of retreat, 
and threatened their flank. The Hanoverian 
leader seizing his opportunity, resolved to attack 
with vigour the wide-spread Prussian fine. At 
mid-day the first brigade in the centre, with the 
third brigade on the right wing, advanced from 
Merxleben, while the fourth brigade on the left 
moved forward at the same time against the 
Prussian right. Here, however, the sides of the 
river were steep, and the time occupied in descend- 
ing and ascending the banks, and wading through 
the stream, permitted only one battalion of rifles 
of this brigade to take a share in the onset. The 



rest of the troops, however, supported by their 
artillery, pressed steadily forward, and bore down 
upon the Prussians, who retreated. Many prisoners 
were taken, but not without severe loss to the 
assailants, who soon occupied the wood and bathing 
establishment beside the river. 

The Prussians then drew off from every point, 
and a favourable opportunity occurred for a vigor- 
ous pursuit. But the disadvantage of a river in 
front of a position now became apparent. The 
cavalry could not ford the stream, nor approach 
it closely, on account of the boggy nature of its 
banks, and had to depend upon the bridges at 
Thamsbruck, Merxleben, and Niigelstadt. The 
duke of Cambridge's regiment of dragoons issued 
from the latter village and dashed forward quickly, 
but unsupported, against the Prussians, taking 
several prisoners. As soon as the heavy cavalry 
of the reserve had threaded its way across the 
bridge of Merxleben, it also rushed upon the re- 
treating Prussians. Two squares broke before 
the advancing horsemen, and many prisoners were 
made, while Captain von Einein, with his squadron 
of cuirassiers, captured a Prussian battery. But 
the Hanoverians suffered fearfully from the deadly 
rapidity of the needle-gun, and Von Einein fell 
amidst the cannon he had captured. About five 
o'clock the pursuit came to an end, and the 
Hanoverians, masters of the field of battle, posted 
their outlying pickets on the south of Langensalza. 
Their total loss in killed and wounded was 1392. 
The Prussians lost 912 prisoners, and not much 
less than their enemies in killed and wounded. 
It is said that the Hanoverian infantry engaged 
did not number more than 10,000 men, because 
the recruits were sent to the rear, and during the 
day 1000 men were employed in throwing up 
earthworks. The Hanoverian cavalry consisted 
of twenty-four squadrons, of which eighteen cer- 
tainly took part in the pursuit, mustering at least 
1900 sabres. The artillery in action on that side 
consisted of forty-two guns. The Prussian force 
numbered about 12,000 combatants, with twenty- 
two guns. It is extremely questionable how far 
General Flies was justified under these circum- 
stances in precipitating an action. The battle 
of Langensalza was of little avail to the gallant 
army which had won it. The Hanoverians were 
too intricately involved in the meshes of Falck- 
enstein's strategy. This general on the 28th 
closed in his divisions, and drew them tightly 



94 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



round the beleaguered enemy, who, by the action 
of Langensalza, had repulsed but not cut through 
their assailants. The division of General Man- 
teuffel, and the brigade of General Wrangel, 
were pushed into the Hanoverian rear, and took 
up positions at Alt-Gottern, Rothen, Helligau, and 
Bollestedt. The division of General Beyer was 
advanced from Eisenach to Hayna. General Flies 
was at Warza, and the brigade of General Kummer 
at Gotha was held ready to move by railway to 
Weimar, in order to head King George, in case 
he should march to the eastward on the left bank 
of the Unstrut. Forty thousand hostile combat- 
ants were knitted round the unfortunate monarch 
and his starving but devoted troops. 

When these positions of the Prussians were 
reported to the king, he determined to avoid a 
holocaust of his soldiery. An action could hardly 
have been successful ; it must have been desperate. 
The terms of capitulation which had been formerly 
proposed by Prussia were agreed to on the evening 
of the 29th. Arms, carriages, and military stores 
were handed over to the Prussians : the Hanoverian 
soldiers were dismissed to their homes: the officers 
were allowed to retain their horses and their swords, 
on condition of not again serving against Prussia 
during the war. The king himself and the crown 
prince were allowed to depart whither they pleased 
beyond the boundaries of Hanover. Political 
errors, and the supinencss of Prince Charles of 
Bavaria, had thus suddenly made a whole army 
captive, and blotted out from the roll of independ- 
ent states one of the most renowned of continental 
principalities. Hanoverians look with a mournful 
satisfaction on Langensalza, and British soldiers 
feel a generous pride in the last campaign of an 
army which mingled its blood with that of their 
ancestors on the battle-fields of Spain and Belgium. 

CAMPAIGN OF THE MAINE. 

Opposed to the Prussian army of the Maine 
stood, after the capitulation of the Hanoverians, 
the seventh and eighth corps of the Germanic Con- 
federation. The seventh federal corps consisted of 
the army of Bavaria, which was under the command 
of Prince Charles of Bavaria, who was also com- 
mander-in-chief of the two corps. The Bavarian 
army was divided into three divisions, each of 
which consisted of two brigades. A brigade was 
formed of two regiments of infantry of the line, 
each of three battalions ; a battalion of light infan- 



try, a regiment of cavalry, and a battery of artillery. 
There was also a reserve brigade of iniantry, which 
consisted of five line regiments and two battalions 
of rifles. The reserve cavalry consisted of six 
regiments, the reserve artillery of two batteries. 
The first division was under the command of 
General Stephan, the second under General Feder, 
and the third under General Zoller. The infantry 
of the reserve was commanded by General Hart- 
mann, the cavalry by a prince of the house of 
Thurn and Taxis. The whole army numbered 
over 50,000 sabres and bayonets, with 136 guns. 
The chief of the staif of Prince Charles was 
General von der Tann, who was a tried com- 
mander of division, but failed to meet the necessities 
of a position even more arduous than that of com- 
mander-in-chief. The Bavarian army in the middle 
of June was posted along the northern frontier of 
its own kingdom, in positions intended to cover 
that country from an invasion from the north or 
east. Its head-quarters were at Bamberg, its ex- 
treme right wing at Hof, and its extreme left wing 
near the confluence of the Franconian Saale with 
the Maine, between Schweinfurt and Gemlinden. 

The eighth federal corps, under the command 
of Prince Alexander of Hesse, consisted of the 
Federal contingents of Wiirtemburg, Baden, 
Hesse, and a combined division which included 
the Austrian auxiliary brigade and the troops of 
Nassau. The whole corps mustered 49,800 sabres 
and bayonets, with 134 guns. Prince Alexander 
assumed the command of this corps on the 18th 
June, and established his head-quarters at Darm- 
stadt. The elector of Hesse-Cassel had sent his 
troops to the south as soon as the Prussians invaded 
his territory. By a decree of the Diet of the 22nd 
June, they were placed under the orders of the 
commander of the eighth federal corps. On 
account of their rapid retreat from Cassel, their 
preparations for war were incomplete, and little 
could as yet be expected from them in the open 
field. The troops of Wiirtemburg and Baden also 
still wanted time ; those of Baden particularly, 
for their duchy entered unwillingly into the war 
against Prussia. Wiirtemburg had sent an infantry 
brigade, a regiment of cavalry, and two batteries 
on the 17th June to Frankfort. These were in- 
tended to unite with the troops of Hesse- Darmstadt 
already assembling there. The next Wiirtem- 
burg brigade joined the corps only on the 28th 
June, and the last brigade on the 5th July. 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN AVAR. 



95 






The first Baden brigade reached Frankfort on 
the 25th June, where the Austrian brigade had 
arrived only a few days before. The rest of the 
troops and the transport trains did not come in 
till the 8th July, so that the 9th July must be 
considered to have been the earliest day on which 
the eighth federal corps was ready to take the 
field. While these minor governments were still 
assembling their small contingents, the troops of 
Prussia had entered into possession of Saxony and 
Hesse, had caused the surrender of the Hanoverian 
army, and inflicted a crushing defeat on the main 
forces of Austria. 

The Bavarian army lay along the Maine, with 
its first division towards Hof, and its fourth towards 
Gemiinden. The Bavarian government was anxi- 
ous to make an advance upon Berlin, by way of 
Hof ; but the general strategical movements of all 
the allies of Austria were, in virtue of a convention 
concluded between Austria and Bavaria on the 
14th June, directed from Vienna. The directing 
genius decided against any offensive movements 
in a north-easterly direction, and insisted strongly 
on a junction of the Bavarian and eighth federal 
corps between Wiirzburg and Frankfort, in order 
to make a move against the Prussian provinces on 
the north-west. The aim of Austria was to compel 
Prussia to detach strong bodies from her troops 
engaged with Benedek, and so to weaken her main 
army. In his own immediate command Prince 
Charles showed vacillation and uncertainty. He 
did not strive with energy to liberate the Hano- 
verians, and failed to unite them with his own force. 
Nor, when he found himself too late to achieve this 
object, did he take rapid measures for a concentra- 
tion of his forces with the eighth corps. On the 
contrary, instead of making towards his left, he 
drew away to his right, apparently with the object 
of crossing the difficult country of the Thuringian 
forest, and placing that obstacle between himself 
and his allies, whilst he left the valley of the 
Werra open to his antagonist as a groove, down 
which to drive the wedge that should separate 
the Bavarians entirely from Prince Alexander. On 
the 4th July news came to the head-quarters of 
this prince, to the effect that strong Prussian 
columns were moving on Fulda from Hunfeld 
and Gerze, towns which lie between the Werra 
and the Fulda. An advance of the eighth corps, 
with all precautions and in preparation for battle, 
was ordered for the next day. Meanwhile, how- 



ever, the Prussian and Bavarian troops had come 
into contact. 

General Falckenstein, after the capitulation of 
the Hanoverians, had on the 1st July concentrated 
his three divisions at Eisenach. To this united 
corps was given the name of the Army of the 
Maine. On the 2nd July he took the road which 
leads from Eisenach by Fulda, to Frankfort, and 
reached Marksahl that day. His intention was 
to press the Bavarians eastward. These occupied 
a position at that time with their main body near 
Meiningen, on the west of the Werra. Two divi- 
sions were posted on that river near Schmalkalden, 
to cover the passage of the stream against a Prus- 
sian corps which was expected from Erfurt. The 
cavalry was intended to open communication with 
the eighth corps in the direction of Fulda. On 
the night of the 2nd July, the same night that the 
troops of Prince Frederick Charles in Bohemia 
were moving towards the field of Koniggratz, a 
Bavarian reconnoitring party fell in with one of 
Falckenstein's patrols, and on the following day the 
Prussian reconnoitring officers brought in reports 
that the Bavarians were in force round Wiesenthal, 
on the river Felde. It was clear to Falckenstein 
that this position was held by the heads of the 
Bavarian columns, which were moving to unite 
with the eighth corps. The Prussian general 
could not afford to let the enemy lie in a position 
so close and threatening, on the left flank of his 
advance. He ordered General Goeben to push 
them back on the following morning by forming 
to his left, and attacking the villages on the Felde 
in front, while General Manteuffel's division should 
move up the stream, and assail them on the right 
flank. The third division, under General Beyer, 
was in the meantime to push its march towards 
Fulda. 

On the 3rd, the Bavarian general having been 
informed of the vicinity of the Prussians, concen- 
trated his army, and in the evening occupied the 
villages of Wiesenthal, Xeidhartshausen, Zella, and 
Diedorf, in considerable strength. His main body 
bivouacked round Rossdorf, and in rear of that 
village. At five o'clock in the morning of the 
4th July, General Goeben sent Wrangel's brigade 
against Wiesenthal, and Kummer's against Neid- 
hartshausen. The latter village, as well as the 
neighbouring heights, were found strongly occupied 
by the enemy. They were carried only after a 
long and hard struggle, the scene of which was 



96 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



marked by the numbers of Prussian killed and 
wounded. Towards noon the Bavarian detach- 
ments which had been driven from Neidhartshausen 
and Zella received reinforcements. Prince Charles 
determined to hold Diedorf. He ordered a brigade 
to advance beyond this village, and take up a 
position on the hills on the further side. The 
Prussians opened a heavy fire of artillery and 
small-arms from Zella upon the advancing Bava- 
rians, who could gain no ground under such a 
shower of missiles, nor produce any change in the 
positions of the combatants at this point, until 
the termination of the action. A severe combat, 
meanwhile, was being fought at Wiesenthal. When 
General Kummer left Dermbach, he detached two 
battalions to his left, with orders to occupy the 
defile of Lindenau, while Wrangcl's brigade ad- 
vanced against Wiesenthal. Wrangcl's advanced 
guard consisted of a squadron of cavalry and a 
battalion of infantry, which moved along the road 
in column of companies. Hardly had it reached 
the high ground in front of the village, when it 
was sharply assailed by a well-directed fire of bullets 
and round shot. Heavy rain prevented the men 
from seeing clearly what was in their front, but 
they pressed on, and the enemy was pushed back 
into the barricaded villages, and up the hills on its 
southern side. Before the Prussian advanced guard 
reached Wiesenthal, the rain cleared up, and the 
Bavarians could be seen hurrying away from the 
place, in order to take up a position with four 
battalions, a battery, and several squadrons at the 
foot of the Nebelsberg. The Prussian battalion 
from Lindenau had arrived on the south flank 
of Wiesenthal ; another came up with that of 
the advanced guard, and the Prussians occupied 
the village. The Prussian artillery also arrived, 
and came into action with great effect against a 
Bavarian battery posted on the south-west of 
Wiesenthal. At the same time the needle-gun 
told severely on the Bavarian battalions at the foot 
of the Nebelsberg. Three of these retired into the 
woods which cover the summit of that hill, while 
the fourth took post behind the rising ground. 
Swarms of Prussian skirmishers swept swiftly 
across the plain in front, and made themselves 
masters of the edge of the wood ; but the Bavarians 
held fast to the trees inside, and would not be 
ousted. Two fresh batteries of Bavarian artillery, 
and several new battalions, were seen hurrying up 
from Rossdorf. At this moment it was supposed 



that Manteuffci's cannonade was heard opening in 
the direction of Nornshausen. It was in truth but 
the echo of the engaged artillery; but the Prussian 
columns, animated by the sound, hurried forward, 
and dashed with the bayonet against the wood- 
crested hill. The Bavarians awaited the charge, 
and their riflemen made a serious impression upon 
the advancing masses, but the men of Westphalia 
still rushed on. After a short, sharp struggle, the 
hill was carried ; and the Bavarians fled down 
the reverse slope, leaving hundreds of corpses, 
grisly sacrifices to the needle-gun, to mark the line 
of their flight. General Goeben, having achieved 
his object, halted his troops and prepared to rejoin 
Falckenstein. Leaving a rear-guard of one battalion, 
three squadrons, and a battery to cover his move- 
ment, and the removal of the killed and wounded, 
he withdrew his two brigades to Dermbach. The 
Bavarian march, undertaken for the purpose of 
uniting with the eighth corps, had been checked, 
and Falckenstein had lodged his leading columns 
securely between the separated portions of his 
adversary's army. The Bavarians in the night, 
finding their road barred, retired, to seek a junc- 
tion with Prince Alexander by some other route. 
They did not, however, move over the western 
spurs of the Hohe Rhone, in the direction of 
Bruckenau, whence they might have stretched 
a hand to Prince Alexander, who on the night 
between the 5th and 6th July was only seven 
miles from Fulda. They preferred moving by 
the woods on the eastern side of the mountains 
towards the Franconian Saale and Kissingen. This 
movement separated them from their allies, instead 
of bringing the two corps closer together. Prince 
Alexander had sent an officer to the Bavarian camp, 
who was present at the action at Wiesenthal, and 
returned to his head-quarters with a report of 
the failure of the Bavarians. On the receipt of 
this intelligence, Prince Alexander appears to have 
abandoned all hope of effecting a junction with 
Prince Charles north of the Maine. He faced 
about and moved back to Frankfort, a town, 
which, until its subsequent occupation by the 
Prussians, appears always to have had a singular 
attraction for the eighth federal corps. 

On the same 4th July that General Goeben 
pressed the Bavarians back at Wiesenthal, the lead- 
ing division of Falckenstcin's army had a singular 
skirmish in the direction of Hiinfeld. As General 
Beyer, who commanded the Prussian advanced 



THE FEANGO-PKUSSIAN WAR 



97 






guard, approached that town, he found two squad- 
rons of Bavarian cavalry in front of him. Two 
guns accompanying these horsemen opened fire on 
the Prussians. The weather was wet, and a clammy 
mist held the smoke of the cannon, so that it 
hung like a weighty cloud over the mouths of the 
pieces. A Prussian battery opened in reply. The 
first shot so surprised the Bavarians, who had 
not anticipated that there was artillery with the 
advanced guard, that the cuirassiers turned about 
and sought safety in a wild flight. They left one 
of their guns, which in their haste they had not 
limbered up. Beyer pressed forward, and found 
Hiinfeld evacuated by the enemy. It is said that 
these cuirassiers, who had been pushed forward 
by Prince Alexander to open communication with 
Prince Charles, were so dismayed by one well- 
aimed cannon shot, that many of them did not 
draw rein till they reached Wiirzburg. As Prince 
Alexander withdrew towards Frankfort, Falcken- 
stein pushed forward. On the 6th he occupied 
Fulda with Beyer's division, while Goeben and 
Manteuffel encamped on the north towards Hiin- 
feld, and the object of the Prussian advance was 
obtained. On the 5th July the Bavarians and the 
eighth Federal corps were separated from each 
other by only thirty miles ; on the 7th, seventy 
miles lay between them. 

On the 8th General Falckenstein commenced 
his march from Fulda. He did not turn towards 
Gelnhausen, as was expected in the Bavarian camp, 
but moved against the position of Prince Charles, 
reaching Briickenau on the 9th, when orders were 
given for a flank march to the left over the Hohe 
Rhon against the Bavarians on the Saale. Beyer's 
division moved as the right wing along the road 
to Hammelburg ; Goeben advanced in the centre 
towards Kissingen ; and Manteuffel on the left upon 
Waldaschach. On the morning of the 10th, at 
nine o'clock, Beyer's division, which had received 
very doubtful intelligence of the presence of the 
Bavarians in Hammelburg, began its march to- 
wards that town, and in an hour's time the head 
of the advanced guard fell in with the first patrols 
of the enemy's cavalry in front of Unter Erthal, 
a small village on the road from Briickenau, about 
two miles south of Hammelburg. The patrols 
retired on the Prussian advance, but unmasked a 
rifled battery posted between the houses. A Prus- 
sian field battery quickly unlimbered and came 
into action. Under cover of its fire an infantry 



regiment made a dash at the bridge by which the 
road from Briickenau crosses the Thulba stream, 
which was not seriously defended ; and after 
a short cannonade the Bavarians drew back to 
Hammelburg. At mid-day three Prussian batteries 
topped the Hobels Berg, and after a few rounds 
from them, the infantry rushed down with loud 
cheers to carry the houses. This was not an easy 
task, for part of the Bavarian division Zoller, num- 
bering some 3000 men, held the town, and deter- 
mined to bar the passage of the Saale. The odds, 
however, were too unequal, for the Prussians 
numbered about 15,000 men. Yet the Bavarians 
clung with courage to the houses, and opened 
a sharp fire of small -arms on the assailants. 
Their artillery, too, well supported the infantry 
defence. Two Prussian infantry regiments threw 
out skirmishers, and attempted to put down the 
fire of the Bavarian riflemen. But these were 
under cover of the houses, and their artillery from 
the hill of Saalch splintered its shells among the 
ranks of the Prussian sharp-shooters. For about 
an hour the fight was equally sustained; then 
two more Prussian regiments and two additional 
batteries came into play. The Prussian pieces 
threw their heavy metal upon the Bavarian guns 
at Saalch, until the fire of the latter grew w r eaker, 
and was at length silenced by superior weight. 
Some houses, kindled by the Prussian shells, at the 
same time caught fire, and the town began to burn 
fiercely in three places. Still the Bavarians clung 
to the bridge, and stood their ground, careless 
equally of the flames and of the heavy cannonade. 
Beyer sent forth his jiigers to storm the place, and 
the defenders could not endure the assault. The 
quick bullets of the needle-gun rained in showers 
among the burning buildings, scattering death 
among the garrison. The stoutly defended town 
was abandoned, and the Bavarians, pursued by 
salvos of artillery, drew off to the south-east, while 
the Prussians gained the passage of the Saale at 
Hammelburg. 

On the day that General Beyer fought the action 
of Hammelburg on the right, Falckenstein's central 
column was heavily engaged with the main body 
of the Bavarians at the celebrated bathing-place 
of Kissingen. On the 5th July eighty Bavarian 
troopers, flying from Hiinfeld, passed in hot haste 
through the town. Visitors and inhabitants were 
much alarmed ; but the burgomaster quieted them 
by a promise that he would give twenty-four hours' 



98 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



warning if the place were in danger of being 
attacked by the Prussians. This assurance had all 
the more weight, because even so late as on the 
8th July Bavarian staff-officers were sauntering 
about the Kurgarten as quietly as if in time of the 
most profound peace. Some of the troops which 
had been quartered in Kissingen and its neigh- 
bourhood were, on the 9th, sent to Hammelburg. 
All appeared still, yet the inhabitants of the neigh- 
bouring villages were flying from their houses to 
avoid the Prussians. The Bavarian intelligence 
department does not appear to have been well 
served. By mid-day on the 9th it was too late 
for the burgomaster to give his warning, that the 
Prussians were near. The Bavarians concentrated 
about 20,000 men, and took up their position. 
Neither visitors nor inhabitants could now retire, 
but had to remain involuntary witnesses of a 
battle. Those who lived in the Hotel Sanner, 
which, lies on the right bank of the Saale, were 
allowed to move into the less exposed part of the 
town. No one was permitted to quit the place, 
lest he should convey intelligence to the enemy 
of the dispositions of the Bavarian army. Three 
of the bridges over the Saale were destroyed; but 
the supports were left to one made of iron, in front 
of the Alten Berg. It was by the assistance of 
these supports that the Prussians gained the first 
passage of the river; for they knew the localities 
well, many of their staff-officers having frequented 
the fashionable watering place. The stone bridge 
was barricaded as hastily as possible, and its 
approach protected by two twelve-pounder guns. 
Five battalions, with twelve guns, held the town 
itself. The Bavarians, who were commanded by 
Zoller, general of the division, had chosen a very 
strong position; they held the houses next to the 
bridge, as well as the bank of the Saale beyond the 
bridge. Their artillery was posted on the Stadt 
Berg, but not on the important Finster Berg. A 
battery on the latter hill would have prevented 
the Prussians from gaining the passages of the 
river from the Alten Berg. Behind the village 
of Haussen guns were also in position. All the 
bridges outside of Kissingen were destroyed, and 
all points favourable for defence occupied by 
infantry. 

On the 10th July, at early morning, Prussian 
hussars made their appearance, and were followed 
by columns advancing on the roads towards Klaus- 
hof and Garitz, west of Kissingen, while a battery 



came into position on a hill between Garitz and 
the river. At half past seven in the morning, 
the Bavarian guns near Winkels and the two 
twelve-pounders at the bridge opened on the 
leading Prussian columns, which consisted of 
General Kummcr's brigade. Kummer's artillery 
replied, and in a short time the rattle of musketry, 
mingling with the heavier booming of the guns, 
told that he was sharply engaged. 

The main body of Goeben's division had, in the 
meantime, reached Schlimhoff. Here it received 
orders to detach three battalions by Poppenroth 
and Klaushof, who were to attack Friedrichshall 
under the command of Colonel Goltza. When 
General Wrangel's brigade approached Kissingen 
it received orders to advance on the right wing of 
Kummer's brigade to seize the Alten Berg, and 
if possible, extending to its right, to outflank the 
Bavarian position. The Alten Berg being quickly 
cleared of Bavarian riflemen by the Prussian 
jiigers, a company under Captain von Busche 
was sent against the bridge to the south of 
Kissingen, where, though partially destroyed, 
the piers had been left standing. Tables, forms, 
and timber were seized from some neighbouring 
houses, with which very secretly and rapidly the 
broken bridge was restored so far that before mid- 
day men could cross it in single file. Von Busche 
led his company over the stream, and into a road 
on the further side, from the corner of which the 
enemy's marksmen annoyed his men considerably. 
This company was followed by a second, and as 
quickly as possible the whole battalion was thrown 
across the stream and gained the wood on the 
south-east of Kissingen, where a column was formed, 
and under the cover of skirmishers advanced against 
the town. More men were pushed across the re- 
paired bridge, and ere long two battalions and a 
half of Prussians were engaged among the houses in 
a street fight. The remaining portion of Wrangel's 
brigade was at this time directed in support of 
Kumnier against the principal bridge. Infantry 
and artillery fire caused the Prussians severe losses; 
but they pushed on towards the barricade. Their 
artillery outnumbered that of the defending force, 
and protected by it they carried the bridge. 

The passage of the stream by the Prussians 
decided the action. They secured the Finster 
Berg and the Bodenlaube, with the old castle of 
that name, and pushed forward with loud cheers 
into the heart of the town. Here the Bavarian 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



99 



light infantry fought hard, and, suffering heavy 
sacrifices themselves, inflicted grievous loss upon 
the Prussians. The Kurgarten, held by 300 
riflemen, stormed unsuccessfully three times by 
Wrangel's men, was carried on the fourth as- 
sault. A young lieutenant, who commanded the 
Bavarians, refusing with the whole of his men 
to ask quarter, fell in the place they held so well. 
At a little after three the whole town was in 
possession of the Prussians. 

The Bavarians did not yet renounce the com- 
bat. The corps which retreated from Kissingen 
took up a position on the hill east of the town, 
and renewed the battle. Wrangel's brigade re- 
ceived orders to clear the hills south of the road 
which leads to Nullingen. The Bavarians had 
taken up a position on both sides of the road, and 
greeted the Prussians with an artillery fire from 
the Linn Berg. They continued the fight till 
seven o'clock in the evening, when Wrangel occu- 
pied Winkels. The Bavarians were supposed to 
be retiring, and Wrangel's troops were about to 
bivouac, when a report came in that the Bavarians 
were advancing in force. General Wrangel in 
person went to the outposts, and was receiving 
the reports from the commanding officer of the 
nineteenth regiment, when some rifle bullets came 
from the southern hill into his closed columns. 
The Bavarians, under Prince Charles himself, had 
come down with nine fresh battalions of their first 
division, had seized the hills which lie to the north 
of the road, and were pressing rapidly forward un- 
der cover of their artillery. The Prussians were 
pushed back, and took up a position on the heights 
south-east of Winkels, where two batteries came 
into play. From thence troops were sent by 
Wrangel into the hills north and south of the 
road flanking the enemy, and immediately after- 
wards the whole brigade advanced in double-quick 
time, with drums beating, to a charge that suc- 
ceeded, though with loss. The Bavarians were 
driven back, the Prussians regained their former 
position, and Prince Charles relinquished his attack. 

The Prussian left column, which was formed 
by Manteuffel's division, on the 10th July secured 
the passage of the river at Waldaschach about 
five miles above Kissingen, and at Haussen. At 
neither place did the Bavarians make any obstinate 
stand. In these actions on the Saale the Bavarians 
appear to have been taken by surprise. The 
Prussian march, previous to the battle of Kissingen, 



was so rapid that their attack was not expected till 
the following day. In consequence, the Bavarian 
force was not concentrated on the river. The 
troops which held Kissingen and Hammelburg 
were unsupported, those which should have acted 
as their reserves being too far distant to be of 
any service. Not reaching the scene of action till 
their comrades had been defeated, they, instead of 
acting as reinforcements, met with a similar fate. 

The army of Bavaria boasted to have had at 
that time 126 cannon. Of these only twelve came 
into action at Kissingen, five at Hammelburg. 
The rest were uselessly scattered along the bank 
of the Saale, between these two places. The 
staff was unprepared, having no maps of the 
country, except one which the chief of the staff, 
General von der Tann, had borrowed from a native 
of one of the small towns near the field. 

When Prince Alexander of Hesse turned to 
retreat on the 5th July, he might still, by a rapid 
march along the road which leads from Lauterbach 
to Briickenau, have made an attempt to unite 
with the Bavarians before they were attacked at 
Kissingen by the Prussians. This course he 
appears, however, to have considered too hazard- 
ous, for he retired to Frankfort, and on the 9th 
July concentrated his troops round that town. 
Frequent alarms made it evident how little con- 
fidence pervaded the federal corps of Prince 
Alexander. The news of the victory won by 
the Prussians at Koniggratz was widely circulated 
through the ranks by the Frankfort journals. 
Every moment reports were rife that Prussian 
columns were advancing towards Frankfort from 
Wetzlar, or Giessen ; and on one occasion an 
officer, by spreading the alarm, caused a whole 
division to lose their night's rest, and take up a 
position in order of battle. 

No firm union existed between the different 
divisions of the eighth corps, which h&d not been 
concentrated for twenty-four years. The organi- 
zation, the arms, the uniforms, were all different. 
The hussars of Hesse-Cassel, for instance, were 
dressed and accoutred so similarly to Prussian 
cavalry, that the Austrians fired upon them at 
Asschaffenburg. 

The day after the victory at Kissingen, General 
Falckenstein turned his attention against this 
heterogeneous mass without fear of any assault 
on his rear by the Bavarians, who after the 
battle of Kissincren had retired in such haste 



100 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



towards the Maine, that Manteuffel's division, sent 
in pursuit, could not reach them. On the 11th 
duly Beyer's division marched by way of Ham- 
melburg and Gelnhausen on Hanau, without fall- 
ing in with the Wiirtemburg division which held 
Gelnhausen. On the 14th the Wurtemburgers 
retired in great haste, without throwing any 
obstacle in the way of the advancing Prussians, 
either by breaking the bridges or by any other 
means. The division of General Goeben was 
directed, at the same time, through the defile of 
the Spessart, upon Aschaffenburg, and found the 
passes unoccupied and unbarricaded. Notwith- 
standing the presence in the district of large 
numbers of foresters, no abattis or entanglements 
were placed across the road. Xone of the almost 
unassailable heights were occupied, either to pre- 
vent the direct progress of the Prussians, or to 
threaten their line of march in flank. The rail- 
way, which was still serviceable, was not used to 
convey the small number of riflemen and guns, 
which at Gemunden, as at many other points, 
might have thrown some difficulties in Goeben's 
way. ManteufFel's division followed Goeben's, 
and scoured the country in the direction of 
Wiirzburg. Between Gemunden and Aschaffen- 
burg the river Maine makes a deep bend to the 
south. Into the bow thus formed, the mountain- 
ous region of the Spessart protrudes, through 
which the road and railway lead directly west- 
ward from Gemunden to the latter town. On 
the 13th July, Wrangel's brigade was approaching 
Hayn, when a report came in that the enemy's 
cavalry and infantry were advancing from Laufach. 
They were troops of Hesse-Darmstadt, and were 
without difficulty pushed back, while the village 
of Laufach was taken, and the railway station 
occupied. The enemy with eight or nine bat- 
talions — about 8000 men — and two batteries, 
resumed the offensive. The Prussians occupied 
the churchyard and the village of Frohnhb'fen, 
and after a severe contest, in which all Wrangel's 
available troops were engaged, not only repulsed 
all the assaults of the Hessians, but made a 
counter-attack which was attended with complete 
success. The Hessians drew off from all points 
towards Aschaffenburg, leaving more than 100 
prisoners, with 500 killed and wounded, in the 
hands of the victors. On the Prussian side the 
loss was very small, twenty men and one officer. 
The advantages of ground, disposition, and 



leading were all on the side of the Prussians, who 
gained their success, although very weary from 
a long march, without any exertions worthy of 
mention. They had so quickly and skilfully 
availed themselves of each local advantage, for the 
defence of their line by infantry and artillery fire, 
that all the reckless bravery of the Hessians had no 
other result than to inflict upon themselves very 
severe losses. After the action of the 13th July, 
Wrangel's brigade bivouacked at Laufach, with an 
advanced post of three battalions round Frohn- 
hofen. On the 14th, at seven in the morning, the 
further march on Aschaffenburg commenced. On 
the hill of Weiberhofen, Wrangel's brigade fell in 
with that of General Kummer, which had moved 
by a route on the south of the railway. General 
Goeben then ordered a general advance. He moved 
Wrangel's brigade along the road, Kummer's on 
the railway embankment ; and with a hussar and 
cuirassier regiment drawn from the reserve, covered 

I his right flank by moving them through the open 
fields on the south of the road. Hosbach was 

I found unoccupied by the enemy, as was also Gold- 
bach. On the further side of the latter village the 

j infantry fire opened. The Prussian regiments 
pushed forward to the wooded bank of the Laufach 
stream. The Federal corps here consisted of the 

' Austrian division under General Count Xeipperg, 
formed of troops which had originally garrisoned 
Mainz, Rastadt, and Frankfort. There were also 
some of the Hesse-Darmstadt troops, whose fire 
caused the Prussians little loss. An Austrian 
battery, posted on a hill south of Aschaffenburg and 
admirably served, greatly annoyed the Prussians, 
and held them at bay until three of their battalions 
pushed along the stream nearer to the village of 
Daurm, and made themselves masters of a hill 
surrounded by a tower walled in. Protected by 
this the infantry succeeded in forcing the enemy's 
artillery to retire, and in checking the advance 
of some squadrons of Federal cavalry. As soon as 
the Austrian battery drew back, a general advance 
was made against Aschaffenburg, which is sur- 
rounded by a high wall that offered the Austrians 
cover, and a convenient opportunity for defence. 
The Prussian artillery coming into action on the 
top of a hill, soon showed itself superior to that of 
the Austrians; and after shelling the environs of 
the town, and the gardens which lay in front of 
the walls, the Prussians stormed and gained the 
walls without much loss. There was 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR, 



101 



conflict at the railway station, but nowhere else in 
the town. AschafFenburg having only two gates, 
the Anstrians in their retreat towards the bridge 
over the Maine came to a dead lock; 2000 of their 
number, mostly Italians, were made prisoners. 
Reconnoitring parties were at once pushed on 
towards Frankfort, and the reward of victory was 
reaped in the evacuation of that important town, 
and of the line of the Maine, by the Federal forces. 
Wrangel's brigade was pushed forward by forced 
marches to Hanau. About five o'clock on the 
evening of the 16th July, the first Prussians, a 
regiment of cuirassiers and a regiment of hussars, 
arrived near Frankfort, brought in a train from 
AschafFenburg. They got out of the carriages 
a short distance from the city gates, and took up 
a position on the Hanau road. At seven a patrol 
of the hussars, led by an officer, halted before the 
city gate, and in another quarter of an hour the 
head of the vanguard passed in. The populace 
were for the most part sullenly silent. A few 
insulting cries to the Prussians were occasionally 
heard from some of the windows, but the soldiers 
took no notice of them. Generals Vogel von 
Falckenstein, Goeben, Wrangel, and Treskow, 
surrounded by the officers of the staff, rode in 
at the head of the main body, while the bands 
of the regiments played Prussian national airs. 
Before ten o'clock the whole line of march had 
entered. The telegraph and post-office were occu- 
pied. The railway station was garrisoned, and 
guards established over all the principal buildings. 
The town of Frankfort was virtually annexed to 
the Prussian monarchy. Next day the remainder 
of Falckenstein's force entered the town, and 
some troops, pushing forward south of the city, 
captured a Hessian bridge train. The general 
established his head-quarters in Frankfort, and 
published a proclamation announcing that he had 
assumed temporarily the government of the duchy 
of Nassau, the town and territory of Frankfort, 
and the portions of Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt 
which his troops had occupied. The civil func- 
tionaries of these districts were retained in their 
posts, but were directed to receive no order except 
from the Prussian commander-in-chief. Several 
of the Frankfort papers, which had always been 
distinguished for strong anti-Prussian feeling, were 
suppressed. The eleven armed unions ( Vereine) 
which had existed in the city were abolished; and 
the functions of the senate and college of burghers 



established by a general order. Six millions of 
gulden (£600,000) were demanded from the town 
as a war contribution, and after much grumbling 
paid by the citizens. When afterwards, on the 
20th of July, an additional contribution of twenty 
millions of gulden (£2,000,000 sterling) was de- 
manded, a universal cry of indignation and horror 
arose. In the meantime, General von Roedcr 
had been appointed governor of the town, and to 
him the burgomaster represented, on the 23rd 
of July, that the town had already furnished 
six millions of gulden, and about two millions of 
rations, and begged to appeal to the king against 
the second tax. So much did this misfortune 
of his city weigh on the burgomaster's mind, that 
he committed suicide the same night. The town 
sent a deputation to Berlin, which supported by 
the foreign press succeeded in averting the second 
contribution. Frankfort shortly afterwards was 
united definitively to Prussia, and the first contri- 
bution of six millions, though not actually returned 
to the citizens, was retained by the government 
to be expended in public works for the benefit 
of the city. 

On the 14th July General Falckenstein issued 
a general order to his troops, recapitulating their 
victories and expressing his thanks. The thirteenth 
division, he said, was "fortunate" in being generally 
at the head of the corps, and the first to come into 
collision with the enemy. It showed itself wortby 
of this honourable post, as did the intelligence and 
energy of its leader in taking advantage of his 
opportunities. In less than fourteen days this 
fortunate general had defeated two armies, each 
as strong as his own, and in a country by no 
means advantageous for the offensive, had so 
manoeuvred as to separate by seventy miles adver- 
saries who at the beginning of the contest were 
within thirty miles of each other. On the 16th of 
July he was able to report to the king, that all the 
German territory north of the Maine was in pos- 
session of the Prussians. 

CAMPAIGN SOUTH OF THE MAINE. 

The day that General Falckenstein published 
his general order to the troops, the army of the 
Maine lost its commander. For some as yet unex- 
plained offence to the king or his courtiers the 
rough old general was recalled, and was offered 
the appointment of military governor-general of 
Bohemia, an appointment which he did not accept 



102 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



until solicited by the king to do so. The import- 
ance of the communications of the main Prussian 
armies with the provinces of Saxony and Silesia, 
which were threatened by the three fortresses of 
Theresienstadt, Josephstadt, and Koniggriitz, led 
the king of Prussia to appoint General Falckenstein 
as military governor-general of that province. 

General Manteuffel assumed the command of the 
army of the Maine, and on the 18th July occupied 
Wiesbaden. On the 20th, Kummer's brigade was 
pushed southwards as an advanced guard, and 
entered Darmstadt ; but the main body of the army 
halted at Frankfort until the 21st, for reinforce- 
ments. Of the 12,000 auxiliaries which came up 
from the Hanse towns and other places, 5000 men 
were left to hold the line of the Maine at Frank- 
fort, Hanau, and Aschaffenburg, and the remainder 
served to raise the active army to a strength of 
60,000 combatants. 

A second reserve corps to the number of 23,000 
men was formed at the same tune at Leipzig, under 
the command of the grand-duke of Mecklenburg- 
Schwerin. It was intended to enter Bavaria by 
way of Hof, and either to act against the rear 
of the united Bavarian or federal corps, while 
engaged with General Manteuffel, or to force the 
Bavarian army to form front towards the east, and 
prevent Prince Charles of Bavaria from acting in 
concert with Prince Alexander against Manteuffel. 

By the 21st July the railroad from Frankfort 
to Cassel had been repaired and was available 
throughout its whole length, not only for mili- 
tary transport, but also for private traffic. On that 
day the main body of the army of the Maine 
quitted Frankfort, and moved towards the south, 
while Beyer's division advanced from Hanau. The 
Bavarians had concentrated, and were in position 
near Wiirzburg. It appeared probable that part 
of the eighth federal corps intended to hold the 
defiles of the Odenwald, and the line of the Neckar, 
while the remainder joined the Bavarians near the 
Tauber. To take advantage of two roads, in order 
to move quickly upon Prince Alexander before 
he was firmly linked with the Bavarians, and to 
shield his own right flank against any detachments 
lurking in the Odenwald, General Manteuffel moved 
Goeben's division by Darmstadt on Konieg, while 
Flies and Beyer pushed up the valley of the Maine 
by Woerth. 

On the 23rd the army of the Maine occupied 
a position near Mottenberg and Amorbach. It 



was found that the enemy was in force on the 
Tauber, and that his advanced posts were pushed 
over the river as far as Hundheim. On the 
24th two actions took place on the Tauber, an 
affluent of the Maine, which falls into the lat- 
ter stream below Wertheim. General Manteuffel 
moved against the Tauber in three columns. At 
Tauberbischofsheim the Wiirtemburg division, 
under General Hardegg, was posted, to hold the 
place itself, and then issue from the valley on the 
road towards Wiirzburg, in case of an attack by 
the Prussians. The artillery fire of the advanced 
guard brigade of Goeben's division caused great 
loss among the defenders, and soon forced them 
to retire from the village. General Hardegg 
withdrew his troops, but endeavoured to hold the 
Prussians in the houses, and to prevent the ad- 
vance of their batteries, by blowing up the bridge 
over the Tauber; he thus for a time prevented the 
progress of the Prussian artillery. After a hot 
combat, which lasted three hours, the Wiirtem- 
burgers were relieved by the fourth division of 
the eighth federal corps. The action increased 
in fury, but ultimately the Prussians gained the 
passage of the Tauber at Bishopsheim, and pushed 
their outposts a short distance along the road to 
Wiirzburg. 

After several other conflicts, in which the 
Prussians were always victorious, the crowning 
engagement took place when Kummer pushed his 
skirmishers close up to Marienberg, and with them 
forced the enemy to quit some earthworks which 
they had begun to throw up. The whole artillery 
of the army of the Maine was then posted on the 
right and left of the road, and opened a cannonade 
on the houses, to which the enemy's guns actively 
replied. The arsenal and the castle of Marienberg 
were set on flames, after which the batteries ceased 
firing. The day after that cannonade a flag of 
truce was sent from the Bavarians to General 
Manteuffel, who announced that an armistice had 
been concluded between the king of Prussia and 
the Bavarian government. The cessation of hos- 
tilities rescued the allied army from a very pre- 
carious situation in the elbow of the Maine, where 
it was all but cut off from the territories which 
it had been intended to defend. In these engage- 
ments the strength of the Bavarian and eighth 
Federal corps, which mustered together at least 
100,000 men, was frittered away in isolated con- 
flicts, instead of being concentrated for a great 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



103 



battle. Such conflicts could have had no import- 
ant result, even if they had been successful. 

A word or two remains to be said on the occupa- 
tion of Franconia by the second reserve corps. 
On the 18th July the Grand-duke Frederick 
Franz of Mecklenburg-Schwerin assumed com- 
mand of the second Prussian reserve corps at 
Leipzig, and on the same day ordered this corps 
to move upon Hof, in Bavaria. On the 23rd a 
battalion of the guard crossed the Bavarian fron- 
tier, capturing a detachment of sixty-five Bavarian 
infantry, and on the day following the grand- 
duke fixed his head-quarters at Hof. There he 
published a proclamation to the inhabitants of 
Upper Franconia, informing them that his inva- 
sion of their country was only directed against 
their government, and that private property and 
interests would be entirely respected by his troops. 
In consequence of this assurance he was able to 
draw from the inhabitants the means of supplying 
his men with rations. The fine old city of Niirn- 
berg being declared an open town, was occupied 
without resistance by the Prussian advance guard, 
and spared the havoc of a bombardment. The 
Prussian troops were everywhere victoriously 
pressing forward, and the disruption of the Ger- 
man Confederation became daily more complete. 

On the 1st August General Manteuffel, at Wiirz- 
burg his head-quarters, concluded an armistice with 
General von Hardegg, for Wlirtemburg and with 
the representatives of Hesse-Darmstadt. On the 
3rd a plenipotentiary from Baden came to Wiirz- 
burg, and obtained terms for the grand -duchy. 
The relics of the Diet advanced rapidly towards 
dissolution. On the 28th July the troops of 
Saxe-Meiningen had already been permitted by 
the governor of Mainz to leave that fortress, which, 
in virtue of subsequent treaties, was given over, as 
was Frankfort, by a decree of the Diet, entirely to 
Prussia. This decree, dated the 26th cf August, 
1866, was the last act of the Diet of that Ger- 
manic Confederation which had been constructed 
after the fall of the first French empire. In this 
self-denying document the Diet practically pub- 
lished its own death-warrant. 

MOVEMENTS IN MOEAVIA. 

To return to the Prussian advance from Konig- 
gratz. After Benedek's disastrous retreat from 
the field of battle he dispatched the tenth corps, 
which had suffered most severely, to Vienna by 



railway, and ordered the remainder of his army to 
move on the entrenched camp at Olmiitz, while 
he left his light infantry division to watch the 
road from Pardubitz to Iglam, and his second to 
delay the enemy, if possible, on the road between 
Pardubitz and Briinn. 

On the 4th July he also sent General Gablenz, 
one of the most able of the Austrian gen- 
erals, to the Prussian head-quarters, in order to 
treat for a suspension of hostilities, as a pre- 
liminary to the conclusion of peace. This was 
a new proof of the desperate condition of the 
Austrian army. Gablenz reported himself at 
mid-day on the 4th at the outposts of the Crown 
Prince's army, and received permission to go to 
the king's head-quarters. He was conducted 
blindfold through the army to Horitz, and when 
he reached that town, found the king absent on 
a visit to his troops in the field of battle. Being 
taken on to meet him, the general fell in with 
his Majesty between Sadowa and Chlum, and was 
thought to be a wounded Austrian general, fit 
object of royal condolence. King William, being 
informed of his visitor's mission, ordered the 
bandage to be removed from his eyes, and bade 
the Austrian general return with him to Horitz. 
Here Gablenz expressed Benedek's desire of an 
armistice; but no truce could be granted, for 
Prussia and Italy were mutually bound to consent 
to no suspension of hostilities without a common 
agreement. General Gablenz returned unsuc- 
cessful to the Austrian head-quarters, and the 
Prussians commenced their victorious march to 
Briinn, where they halted on the 13th July; having 
given proofs of power of endurance which have 
rarely been equalled in the annals of war. Their 
marches had not been made by small detachments, 
or over open ground, but in large masses over deep 
and heavy roads, encumbered with artillery and 
crowded with carriages. 

While the army halted here, reserve troops were 
being advanced into Bohemia to secure the com- 
munications with Saxony, and to keep order in 
rear of the armies, where the peasantry, having 
possessed themselves with weapons from the field 
of battle, had began to plunder convoys and to 
attack small escorts or patrols. General Falcken- 
stein, as we have seen, was summoned from the 
army of the Maine to be the commandant of 
Bohemia. Still it was thought that these prepara- 
tions were useless, and that the army would never 



104 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



move south of Briinn. The visit of the French 
ambassador to this town, quickly reported from 
billet to billet, fell like a cold chill on the enthu- 
siasm of the troops, who longed to conclude the 
campaign by an entrance into the Austrian capital. 
The mediation of the emperor of the French with 
the Prussian court in favour of peace, they looked 
upon with aversion, and anticipated with disgust 
an armistice by the conditions of which the army 
might be retained at Briinn for a considerable time. 

Benedek, as observed, did not offer to rally his 
army beyond the line of the Elbe, or to fortify any 
position to retard the advancing Prussians. He 
despatched the tenth corps, the Saxons, and part 
of the cavalry, to Vienna, and effected a hasty 
retreat with the remains of his army to Olmiitz, 
expecting the Prussians would not venture to steal 
a march upon Vienna, with a fortress and army in 
their flank. He was, however, greatly deceived ; 
for on the 5th the Prussians had crossed the Elbe 
at three points, and in three columns were advanc- 
ing towards Vienna. 

Archduke Albert, who had recently won a vic- 
tory at Custozza, superseded General Benedek, on 
the 12th July, as commander-in-chief of the army 
of the north. He at once transmitted orders to 
Benedek to bring his entire force of five corps to 
Vienna. But as the railroad and nearest road 
from his position at Olmiitz to Vienna were seized 
by the Prussians, the unlucky general had to 
effect a difficult march through mountain roads 
and passes over the lesser Carpathians. The 
second and fourth corps commenced marching 
from Olmiitz by Tobitschau on the 14th, and 
Benedek with the first and eighth corps, and the 
cavalry division of Taxis, followed on the 15th, 
whilst the sixth corps was sent by Meiszkirchen. 

General Bonin, commander of the first corps of 
the second Prussian army, who was at Pressnitz, 
received orders on the 14th to destroy the railway 
bridge at Brerau, south-east of Olmiitz, and in 
following out these orders his troops came into col- 
lision with the retreating Austrian divisions not far 
from Tobitschau. An engagement took place, in 
which the latter were defeated with a loss of 1200 
men, including 500 prisoners and eighteen guns. 

Benedek quickened his retreat across the little 
Carpathians to Pressburg, at which place the 
second corps arrived on the 22nd ; but the advanced 
guard of the ex-commander-in-chief only reached 
Tirnau on the same day, and Benedek himself, with 



the first, sixth, and eighth corps, did not arrive at 
Pressburg till the 26th. 

The Prussians learnt by the evening of the 14th 
that the negotiations for an armistice had failed, 
upon which Von Moltke retired to his quarters 
and was closeted with his maps, making new plans 
for the further progress of the campaign, and for 
the occupation of Vienna. With such leaders, 
with a better arm than their enemies, with every 
mechanical contrivance which modern science 
could suggest, adapted to aid the operations of the 
army, it is little wonder that the stout-hearted and 
long-enduring Prussian soldiers proved victorious 
on every occasion on which they went into action. 
The Prussian march to the Danube was resumed 
on the 19th. The advance had been so rapid, that 
it was almost impossible to realize that the army 
was within thirty miles of Vienna. The men of 
the first army would have been glad of some 
visible proof assuring them of its proximity ; but 
as yet they could have none. Prince Frederick 
Charles knew that on the 22nd General Benedek 
would throw his leading divisions over the Danube 
at Pressburg. If then he could seize that place, 
the remainder of the Austrian force would have 
to make a detour by Komorn before arriving at 
Vienna. 

The seventh and eighth divisions advancing on 
Pressburg, engaged the Austrians at Blumeneau 
on the 22nd. A brigade having crossed the 
mountains were occupying a position in the Aus- 
trian rear, when orders were received that an 
armistice had been concluded. But the battle had 
commenced and the fire could not be checked, till 
an Austrian officer advanced towards the Prussian 
lines with a flag of truce; the signal to cease firing 
was sounded along the Prussian ranks, and the 
combat was broken off. But for this truce the 
Prussians would undoubtedly have obtained a 
victory at Blumeneau which would have jeopar- 
dized Benedek's army ; for on the day of the con- 
clusion of the truce he was at some distance from 
Pressburg with two of his corps, and in all prob- 
ability he would have been compelled to fall back. 
A curious scene occurred directly the action 
was over, that illustrates the artificial nature of 
warfare produced by state policy, and its freedom 
from personal animosity. The men of Bose's 
Prussian brigade, who had been planted across 
the Pressburg road, and a few hours before had 
been standing ready, rifle in hand, to fire upon 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



105 






the retreating Austrian battalions, -were sur- 
rounded by groups of those very Austrian soldiers 
whom they had been waiting to destroy. The 
men of the two nations mingled together, ex- 
changed tobacco, drank out of each other's flasks, 
talked and laughed over the war in groups equally 
composed of blue and white uniforms, cooked their 
rations at the same fires, and lay down that night, 
Austrian and Prussian battalions bivouacked close 
together, without fear, and in perfect security. 

For five days longer the Prussian troops remained 
in the March Feld. The preliminaries of peace 
had been agreed upon at Nikolsburg on the 
evening of the 26th, and the war was certainly 
at an end, as far as Austria and the North Ger- 
man States were concerned. Late at night on 
the 26th a courier arrived from the king's head- 
quarters at Nikolsburg, with a letter from General 
Moltke to Prince Frederick Charles, stating simply 
and without details that a glorious peace had been 
arranged. The preliminaries, signed that evening 
at Nikolsburg between Prussia and Austria, in- 
cluded the following terms: — That Austria should 
go out of the Germanic Confederation, should pay 
a contribution towards Prussia's expenses in the 
late war, and should offer no opposition to the 
steps which Prussia might take with regard to 
Northern Germany. These steps were, to annex 
Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, Nassau, and the portion of 
Hesse-Darmstadt which lies on the north bank of 
the Maine; to secure the reversion of Brunswick 
on the death of the present duke, who has no 
children; to force Saxony to enter into the new 
North German Confederation headed by Prussia; 
and to hold the entire military and diplomatic 
leadership in that confederation. The war con- 
tribution to be paid by Austria was fixed at 
40,000,000 thalers, of which 15,000,000 were to 
be paid up: 15,000,000 were credited to Austria 
for the Schleswig-Holstein expenses, 5,000,000 
for the support of the Prussian armies in Bohemia 
and Moravia, and 5,000,000 to be paid at a future 
date to be afterwards settled. The Prussian armies 
were, on the 2nd of August, to retire to the north 
of the Thaya, but were to occupy Bohemia and 
Moravia till the signature of the final treaty of 
peace, and to hold Austrian Silesia until the war 
contribution was paid. 

It was a strange coincidence, says a recent 
German writer, that the magnificent castle of 
Nikolsburg had passed through the female line 



from the house of Dietrichstein to Count Mens- 
dorff of Lothringian descent, like the Hapsburgs, 
so that peace was actually negotiated in the country 
house of the Kaiser's minister for foreign affairs. 
Other historical recollections belong to the place. 
Napoleon I. sojourned here after Austerlitz, just as 
William I. did after Sadowa. Bismarck, on his 
arrival, gazed at the magnificent pile intently, and 
remarked, with his grim humour, " My old man- 
sion of Schonhausen is certainly insignificant in 
comparison with this splendid building, and I am 
better pleased that we should be here at Count 
Mensdorffs than that he should now be at my 
house." After the excitement of the battle of 
Sadowa, and the exposure in the marching which 
followed, the minister president was assailed by 
his old complaint of nervous rheumatism. His 
difficulties at Nikolsburg were neither few nor 
small. In a letter he wrote in Bohemia, on 
the 9th July, occur these words : " If we do 
not become extravagant in our demands, and do 
not imagine that we have conquered the world, 
we shall obtain a peace worth the having. But 
we are as easily intoxicated as cast down ; and 
I have the unthankful office of pouring water 
into this foaming wine, and of making it clear 
that we do not inhabit Europe alone, but with 
three neighbours." Wise words that bore good 
fruit in 1866, in a peace glorious for Prussia and 
beneficial to the rest of Germany. 

The definitive treaty of peace between Austria 
and Prussia was signed at the Blue Star Hotel 
at Prague, on the 23rd August, and consisted of 
fourteen articles. The ratifications of this treaty 
were exchanged on the 29th August, also at 
Prague. As a consequence of the exchange of 
the ratifications the Prussian troops began to vacate 
Austrian territory, and by the 18th of September 
there was not a spiked helmet or a needle-gun in 
Bohemia or Moravia. There were great rejoicings 
in Berlin to celebrate the return of the army, and 
on the 19th of September a public festival in their 
honour took place. On the evening of the 21st 
the king assembled at dinner, in the Schloss, 1200 
of the generals and principal officers who had 
served in the campaign. Directly after dark the 
whole city was lighted up. Special performances 
were given in all the theatres in honour of the 
triumphant termination of the war. Prologues 
were delivered which detailed the glorious deeds 
of the army; and the plays which were written 
o 



106 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



for the occasion dwelt upon the actions and per- 
sonal adventures of the heroes of the campaign, 
and recalled the memories of the concluding wars 
of the first French empire. 

The Prussian government now concluded the 
programme of events by the formation of the 
North German Confederation ; measures were at 
once proceeded with, and practically northern 
Germany was united into one confederate power, 
under the sceptre of the house of Hohenzollern, 
by the end of October, 1866. 

The fortune that attended Italy during the war 
will now be briefly touched upon. Her arms had 
suffered defeat both by land and sea; yet the 
glorious victories of her Prussian allies procured 
her the benefits of the peace. 

THE WAR LN ITALY. 

When Prussia had declared that she regarded 
the Austrian proceedings at Frankfort as a declara- 
tion of war, King Victor Emmanuel, in conse- 
quence of his alliance with the government of 
Berlin, declared war against Austria; and on the 
20th of June General La Marmora, chief of the 
staff of the Italian army, sent an intimation to 
the commandant of Mantua that hostilities would 
commence on the 23rd. The Archduke Albrecht 
accepted the intimation, and made ready for action. 

The theatre of war in which the troops of Italy 
and the Austrian army of the south were about to 
engage, has often been the battle-field of Europe. 
It communicates with Vienna by two lines ; by the 
railway, via Trieste, through Goerz, Udine, Tre- 
viso, and Padua to Verona, connecting the Quad- 
rilateral with the capital; and by a line through 
Salzburg, Innsbruck, Botzen, and Roveredo, 
which though not completed between Innsbruck 
and Botzen, afforded a subsidiary way for the 
supply of troops camped under the protection of 
the fortresses. The Quadrilateral itself consisted, 
as our readers know, of the strongly entrenched 
camp of Verona on the Adige, the less important 
fortress of Legnano on the same river, the lately 
strengthened fortifications of Peschiera at the 
issue of the Mincio from the Lago di Garcia, and 
the fortress of Mantua, which lies further down 
the Mincio, with its citadel and fort St. George on 
the left bank, and its minor works on the right of 
the stream. The fortified Borgo Forte supports 
the line of the Mincio in front of the confluence 
of that river with the Po; while Venice, with 



many adjacent forts, protected the rear of the 
Quadrilateral towards the sea. 

The Italians, in acting against the Quadrilateral, 
might either advance across the Mincio, and rush 
headlong against its parapets and embrasures, or, 
by advancing from the Lower Po, push towards 
Padua, and endeavour to cut the main fine of 
communication with Vienna. General La Marmora 
had a very difficult problem to solve, and was not 
fortunate in the conditions he introduced into 
its solution. His information as to the Austrian 
designs was greatly at fault, while that of the 
Archduke Albrecht was excellent. The Italian 
general was bound to assume the offensive for 
political reasons. Neglecting a plan of campaign 
which had been forwarded from Berlin, he adopted 
one that had, it is said, been determined upon in 
1859 by a mixed council of French and Italian 
officers. The main attack was to be made against 
the Mincio and Adige, by the principal army, 
under the personal command of King Victor Em- 
manuel. The whole army, including the division 
of reserve cavalry, mustered about 146,000 men, 
with 228 guns. The Italian staff, presuming that 
the Archduke Albrecht would await an attack 
behind the Adige, determined to cross the Mincio, 
and occupy within the Quadrilateral the ground 
not held by the Austrians. After taking up this 
position, and so separating the fortresses from one 
another, the main army was to give a hand across 
the Adige to General Cialdini, who was to lead his 
corps across the Lower Po, from the direction of 
Ferrara. General Garibaldi, with his volunteers, 
was to support the movement on the left by attacks 
on the passes leading from Northern Lombardy 
to the Tyrol. The day before the declaration of 
war, the main body of the king's army was moved 
towards the Mincio, and on the 22nd June the head- 
quarters of the first corps were at Cavriana, those 
of the third at Gazzoldo, those of the second at 
Castelluccio, while the king himself went to Goito. 

On the morning of the 23rd Cerale's division 
crossed the Mincio at Monzambano; Sirtori's, at 
Borghetto and Valeggio; Brignone's, at Molino di 
Volta; and the reserve division of cavalry, followed 
by the four divisions of the third corps, at Goito. 
The two divisions of Bixio and of Prince Humbert 
were pushed to Belvedere and Roverbella, while 
the divisions of Govone and Cugia encamped near 
Pozzolo and Massinbona. 

Confident of his information, General La Mar- 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



107 



mora on the 24th ordered the advance without 
any preparation having been made for combat. 
Scouts even were not sent out to observe the roads 
from the fortresses, and the soldiers were hungry 
and weary under the broiling sun of an Italian 
midsummer. This negligence and temerity met 
with its just reward. The moment news reached 
the archduke of the entry of the Prussians into 
Holstein, he concentrated his troops between 
Pastrengo and San Bonifacio, so that they could 
easily be united on either bank of the Adige, in 
case of need, and mustered, after deductions for 
necessary detachments, about 60,000 foot, 2500 
horse, and 270 guns. 

BATTLE OF CDSTOZZA. 

In the night between the 23rd and 24th a 
heavy fall of rain took place, which laid the dust, 
and made the air cool on the following day. 

At three o'clock on midsummer morning the 
sixth Austrian corps moved on Somma Campagna, 
the fifth on San Giorgio, and the reserve division 
on Castelnuovo. The cavalry brigades spread over 
the plain, on the left of the ninth corps, while the 
advanced guards pushing forward fell in with those 
of Victor Emmanuel, which were moving in the 
opposite direction The Italian divisions were 
engaged under pressure of superior force, and were 
compelled to retire to Oliosi, where Cerale made 
a determined stand. The archduke reinforced his 
reserved division, and after a hot fight, in which 
great bravery was displayed on both sides, Oliosi 
caught fire, and Cerale, who was wounded, was 
forced to retreat to Monte Vento. Here, though 
reinforced by Sirtori's division, whose advance 
from Valeggio to Santa Lucia covered his right 
wing, he could not withstand the assault of the 
Austrians, who took Monte Vento by storm, and 
forced Cerale to retreat on Valeggio. 

As soon as the Austrians advanced against 
Sirtori at Santa Lucia, the Italian general quitted 
his position, and also retreated to Valeggio. Mean- 
while General Hartung, having occupied Berettara 
and Casa del Sole in force, advanced on Custozza, 
where he fell in with Cugia's division, supported on 
the right by that of Prince Humbert. The latter 
was exposed to frequent attacks of the Austrian 
cavalry, and was often obliged to throw its bat- 
talions into square, in one of which the prince 
himself found shelter from the enemy's horsemen. 
On Curia's left Bri^none's division was led into 



action by La Marmora himself against the Austrian 
brigade of Sardier, supported by two other brigades. 
Shortly after mid-day, and after two commanders 
of brigades, Gozzani and Prince Amadeus, had been 
wounded, Brignone was forced to retreat to Cus- 
tozza, making room for Govone's division, which 
soon found itself hard pressed by the Austrian 
seventh corps. Cerale had been driven from Vento, 
Sirtori from Santa Lucia; and now Cugia, out- 
flanked on his left, was forced to quit Madonna 
Delia Croce, so that at five o'clock the retreat of 
the Italian army was general. But so slowly did 
the third corps retire from the field of action, that 
it was not till seven o'clock in the evening that 
the Austrians occupied the heights of Custozza. 
Bixio's division and the reserve cavalry covered 
the retreat across the plain, where some detach- 
ments of the second corps also came to blows 
with the enemy. 

The Austrians lost 960 killed, 3690 wounded, 
and nearly 1000 prisoners, who were for the most 
part captured by Pianelli. The Italians lost 720 
killed, 3112 wounded, and 4315 missing. The 
Italian army required time to recover from this 
disaster. On the 30th detachments of the Austrian 
cavalry crossed the Mincio, and pushed as far as 
the Chiese; but the Archduke Albrecht had no 
intention or design of invading Lombardy. 

The volunteers under General Garibaldi amounted 
to about 6000 men, the main body of which was 
collected by the 20th of June in front of Rocca 
d'Ans, while a small detachment was placed near 
Edolo, on the road leading through the pass of the 
Monte Tonale into the Tyrol, and another detach- 
ment near Bormio on the road which leads over 
the Stelvio. The main body crossing the frontier 
near Storo, found the population of the Tyrol 
entirely opposed to them, and staunchly loyal to 
the house of Hapsburg. On the 25th of June a 
sharp combat took place at the frontier bridge of 
Cassarobach, in which the Italians were worsted. 
They retired towards Bogolino, when they were 
attacked by an Austrian detachment on the 3rd 
July, again suffered a reverse, and saw their general 
wounded. 

When, after the battle of Koniggriitz, Venetia 
was offered by the government of Vienna to the 
emperor of the French, the fifth and ninth Aus- 
trian corps were withdrawn from Italy, and for- 
warded to the Danube, leaving, besides the garri- 
sons of the fortresses, only one Austrian corps in 



108 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



Venetia, and in the Tyrol a weak detachment 
under General Ivuhn. 

The Italian army rested for a while after the 
battle of Custozza; but an advance was rendered 
necessary by the treaty with Prussia. La Mar- 
mora's defeat having deprived him of the con- 
fidence both of the country and the army, the 
command-in-chief was given to General Cialdini, 
who was ordered to cross the Lower Po, and push 
troops against the Tyrol and into Eastern Yenetia. 
Accordingly on the evening of the 7th July, leaving 
a division to watch Borgo Forte, and another near 
Ferrara, he concentrated seven divisions near Car- 
bonara and Felonica, and threw some detachments 
of light troops across the Po at Massa. On the 
night following three bridges of boats were thrown 
across the stream at Carbanarola, Sermide, and 
Felonica, and on the 9 th the army crossed at 
three points, covered from any attack by the 
marshes which here lie between the Po and the 
Adige. Cialdini then made a flank march to his 
right, gained the high road which leads from 
Ferrara by Kovigo to Padua, and opened his 
communication with Ferrara by military bridges 
thrown across the river, to replace the road and 
railway bridges which the Austrians had blown 
up. On the 10th his head - quarters were at 
Eovigo, and on the 14th, after securing the passage 
of the Adige at Monselice, his advanced guard 
occupied Padua. Meanwhile the division which 
he had left under Nunziante, in front of Borgo 
Forte, besieged that place, which on the night of 
the 18th was evacuated by the Austrian garrison, 
and occupied by the Italians, who captured seventy 
guns, and magazines of all kinds. 

As the progress of events in the north pointed to 
the conclusion of an armistice, the terms of which 
would compel, in all probability, the troops on both 
sides to remain in their actual positions, the Italians 
determined to gain as much ground as possible 
before diplomacy might cause their army to halt. 
Cialdini, on the 19th, had with him about 70,000 
men, and an expeditionary army of 70,000 more 
was being prepared to reinforce him. The Austrian 
troops in Italy which could take the field mustered 
little over 30,000 men. The Italian general ad- 
vanced from Padua to Vicenza, along the left bank 
of the Brenta to Mestre, so as to cut Venice off on 
the land side, while the fleet should attack it from 
the sea. At the same time the Austrian field troops 
under General Maroicie withdrew from the Quad- 



rilateral, and retired gradually behind the Piave, 
the Livenza, the Tagliamento, and finally behind 
the Isonzo. On the 22nd they evacuated Udine, 
which, two days later, was occupied by the Italians. 
No resistance was made by the Austrians until 
the Italian advanced guard passed beyond Palma- 
noro, when a sharp skirmish took place with the 
Austrian rear-guard, but it led to no results. In 
the meantime, Cialdini had pushed detachments by 
Schio towards Roveredo and by Bclluno, as far as 
Avronzo, on his left, while on his right his troops 
were close up to Venice and Chioggia. A truce 
was agreed to on 22nd July, which was extended 
from week to week, until on the 12th August an 
armistice was concluded. The line of the Indrio 
was fixed as the line of demarcation between the 
troops on either side. The conclusion of the 
armistice between Prussia and Austria had already 
liberated the Austrian troops which had been trans- 
ferred from Venetia to the Danube, and they were 
immediately sent back to the Isonzo, but were not 
called upon to act. 

In the meantime, operations had been carried on 
against the Southern Tyrol. On the 22nd July 
Medici with his main body marched against the 
Austrian works at Primolano, which were promptly 
evacuated. Next day he entered Borgo, and on 
the 24th pushed his advanced guards to Pergine 
and Vigolo. General Kuhn being reinforced by 
8000 men from Verona, determined to fall upon 
Medici, and thrust him back. A slight combat took 
place between some of Kuhn's outposts and the 
Italian advanced guard near Sorda on the 25th, 
but news of the armistice prevented further con- 
flict. Garibaldi had made some movements from 
the west against the Tyrol, but without great 
success. He had captured the small fort of 
Ampola, and resisted several attacks made by the 
Austrians ; but, though he attempted to gain as 
much ground as possible, he occupied at the time 
of the armistice only the valley of the Chiese 
for a length of ten miles from the Italian frontier, 
and the Val di Conzei, two miles north of Eiva. 

NAVAL OPERATIONS. 

Of the Italian fleet great things were expected. 
The long coast line of Italy, and the mercantile 
habits of the natives of many of her sea-board 
towns, had for a long succession of years been 
calculated to foster seamen, and to lay the founda- 
tion for an efficient navy. The result of the war, 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



109 



in its naval operations, caused bitter disappoint- 
ment to the Italian people. 

The Italian fleet was assembled at Tarento in the 
middle of May, under the command of Admiral 
Persano, who divided his force into three squadrons. 
The first, under his own immediate command, con- 
sisted of seven iron-clad vessels, and a flotilla of five 
gun-boats. The second, or auxiliary squadron, 
was formed of seven unplated frigates, and five 
corvettes. The third squadron consisted of three 
battering vessels and two gun-boats, while the 
transport squadron included fifteen vessels, capable 
of conveying 20,000 men across the Adriatic. 

On the declaration of war, the fleets sailed from 
Tarento to Ancona, where Persano having heard 
of the disaster of Custozza, resolved to wait until 
a new plan of operations had been decided on. 
On the 29th of June the Austrian fleet, under 
the command of Admiral TegethofF, appeared in 
front of Ancona. Some shots were exchanged 
between an Italian cruiser and the leading Austrian 
vessel, but no further engagement took place ; for 
before Persano could weigh anchor the Austrian 
fleet retired. Persano remained inactive in Ancona 
until Cialdini advanced into Venetia, when being 
ordered to act he determined to attack Lissa. 
The island of Lissa lies in the Adriatic, some 
thirty miles south of Spalatro. Between it and 
the mainland lie the islands of Lesina, Brazza, 
and Solta. Between Lissa and Lesina there is a 
strait about fifteen miles broad. The two ports 
of Lissa are San Giorgio and Comisa. On the 
16th July Persano left Ancona with a fleet of 
twenty-eight vessels, of which eleven were iron- 
plated, four screw frigates, two paddle-wheel cor- 
vettes, one a screw corvette, four despatch boats, 
four gun-boats, one hospital ship, and one store 
ship. The frigate Garibaldi remained at Ancona 
for repairs. Messages were sent to all vessels at 
Tarento or Brindisi to sail towards Lissa, the 
Affondatore especially being ordered up. 

On the evening of the 17th Persano issued 
orders that Admiral Vacca, with three iron-clad 
vessels and a corvette, should bombard Comisa ; 
that the main force, consisting of eight iron-clads, 
a corvette, and despatch boat, should assail San 
Giorgio ; and that Admiral Albini, with four 
wooden frigates and a despatch boat, should effect 
a landing at the port of Manego on the south side 
of the island, in rear of the works of San Giorgio. 
Two vessels were to cruise on the north and east 



of Lissa during these operations, in order to give 
timely warning of the approach of the Austrian 
fleet. Vacca finding that his guns could not 
attain sufficient elevation to do much damage to 
the works at Comisa, gave up the attack and sailed 
for Port Manego, where Albini attempted in vain 
to effect a landing. Persano had begun to bombard 
San Giorgio at eleven in the morning of the 18th, 
by three o'clock, when joined by Vacca, he had 
blown up two magazines, and silenced several Aus- 
trian batteries. He could not, however, succeed in 
sending his ships into the harbour, and the prosecu- 
tion of the attack was postponed till the next day. 

The whole of Persano's fleet was now assembled 
in front of San Giorgio, strengthened by the ram 
Affondatore and three wooden vessels. That even- 
ing the admiral was informed that the Austrian 
fleet was leaving Fasana to attack him. Calcula- 
ting that the enemy could not approach Lissa 
before nightfall on the 19th, Persano determined 
to make a second attack upon the island. But the 
attack, though well planned, was postponed from 
hour to hour, in case Tegethoff might arrive ; and 
when in the afternoon the cruisers signalled that 
no smoke was to be made out on the horizon, the 
cannonade began. The floating battery the For- 
midabile entered the harbour, and taking post 
at the extreme end, 400 yards distant from the 
Austrian batteries, opened fire. A battery on the 
northern side told severely upon her, and Persano 
ordered the Affondatore to open upon this battery 
through the mouth of the harbour. This was 
done, but without much effect. 

Vacca formed his three iron-clads in single 
line, steamed into the harbour, and opened on 
the batteries inside ; but he could not effectually 
support the Formidabile, both because she herself 
covered the Austrian batteries, and on account of 
the difficulty of manoeuvring in the narrow space 
within the harbour, which is only about 100 
fathoms wide. He was soon forced to quit the 
harbour, and was followed by the Formidabile, 
which had lost sixty men, and suffered so con- 
siderably that it was sent the same evening to 
Ancona for repairs. Equally unsuccessful was 
the attempt at landing. The wind blew fresh 
from the south-east, and the boats could with 
difficulty approach the beach on account of the 
surf. The next day at daybreak, though the 
weather was still stormy, Persano again ordered a 
landing to be made. Two iron-clads bombarded 



110 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



Comisa. Albini and Sandri, with the wooden 
vessels and gunboats, supported the landing at 
Port Carobert. But the surf was so high that the 
landing could not be effected, and it was about to 
be abandoned when a cruiser bore hastily down 
through the rainy mist, and signalled that the 
enemy was approaching from the north. Tegethoff 
with the Austrian fleet was at hand to relieve the 
beleaguered island. 

BATTLE OF LISSA. 

On the 17th July Admiral Tegethoff at Fasana 
heard, by telegram, of the Italian fleet being near 
Lissa. He concluded that its appearance there 
was but a demonstration, to draw him away from 
the coast of Istria. On the 19th, however, being 
assured by fresh telegrams that the attack on the 
island was serious, he determined to proceed 
thither. His fleet was in three divisions, and con- 
sisted of seven ironclads under his own immediate 
command ; seven large wooden vessels led by 
Commodore Petz; and a third division of seven 
smaller wooden vessels and four despatch boats — 
making up the number of twenty-five vessels, 
mounting about five hundred guns. 

The Austrian admiral left the roads of Fasana 
about mid-day on the 19th of June, and on the 
morning of the 20th his despatch boats reported 
a vessel of the enemy hi sight. The wind was 
blowing strong from the north-west. At first 
Tegethoff steered a course from the north-west to 
south-east, parallel to the Istrian coast; but off 
Lirona and Solta he altered his course to one 
directly from north to south. Persano on hearing 
of the Austrian approach, ordered his vessels to form 
in line of battle ; and by nine o'clock his ironclads 
formed in a straight line, while steering almost from 
west-south-west to east-north-east in three divisions. 
Persano, at the same time, moved in person from 
the Re d 'Italia to the Affondatore, which he ordered 
to take up a position on the flank of the column 
furthest from the Austrian attack. When Admi- 
ral Tegethoff could clearly make out the Italian 
fleet, it was steering from west to east. He bore 
down upon it in the following order: — His twenty- 
one vessels were arranged in three divisions of 
seven ships each, the first consisting of iron-clads; 
the two others of wooden vessels. The line 
of iron-clads led, with the admiral's flag-ship 
slightly in advance, from which the other vessels, 
falliusr a little astern, formed a wedcre-like order. 



The seven heaviest wooden vessels followed the 
iron-clads, and were themselves followed by the 
lighter vessels in a similar formation. 

Tegethoff bore down upon the gap between 
Vacca's three vessels and the central Italian group, 
and drove his own flag-ship, the Ferdinand Max, 
straight upon the Re d'ltalia, which he rammed 
several times and sank. Only a small portion of 
the crew were saved. The Palestro attempted to 
aid the Re d Italia, but Tegethoff turning upon her, 
ruined her steering apparatus. At the same time 
she was attacked by other ironclads, and quickly 
caught fire. She fell away before the wind, and 
as the fire could not be got under, she with all her 
ship's company, save sixteen men, was blown into 
the air. Thus of the Italian central division two 
vessels were lost, while the Affondatore remained 
inactive, apart from the battle. The third vessel 
of this division, attacked by the seven Austrian 
ironclads, as well as by the three wooden vessels, 
was severely handled, and forced to retreat. 

The Italian division under Vacca had, with a 
north-easterly course, sailed along the flank of the 
Austrian iron-clads as they advanced, and ex- 
changed some broadsides with them. When his 
leading ship, the Carignano, was clear of Teget- 
hofFs iron-clads, Vacca ordered a change of direc- 
tion, and brought his three vessels in line between 
the second and third Austrian divisions. His 
fire told severely on both, especially on the Kaiser, 
the flag-ship of the Austrian second division. 
The Italian division under Ribbotty, when it 
saw the central division engaged, altered its own 
course, and moved against the Austrian wooden 
ships, which were thus brought between two fires. 
Ribotty fiercely attacked the Kaiser, commanded 
by Commodore Petz. The latter using his wooden 
vessel as a ram, ran with full steam against the 
Re di Portagallo, and then lay alongside of her. 
At the same time he was attacked by the Maria 
Pia, and his vessel suffered severely. Tegethoff, 
by this time, had disposed of the Italian central 
division, and he brought his iron-clads back to 
aid his wooden vessels. Under their protection 
the Kaiser got away, and was taken to Lissa. After 
this a closer and fiercer battle was maintained 
between the whole of the Austrian vessels and 
the six Italian iron-clads, while the Italian wooden 
squadron, and the Affondatore looked on from the 
distance. The smoke was so thick that either side 
could with difficulty tell their own vessels ; and 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



Ill 



Tegethoff, hauling off, signalled to his fleet to form 
in three columns, with a north-easterly course so 
that the iron-clads formed the northernmost line, 
nearest to the Italians. By this manoeuvre the Aus- 
trian fleet was brought in front of the strait between 
Lissa and Lesina. Vacca, under the impression 
that Persano had gone down in the Re cCItalia, 
ordered the Italian iron-clads to assemble, and with 
them in a single line steered slowly towards the west, 
waiting for the Palestro. She soon blew up. It 
was now about two o'clock, and the action had 
lasted four hours. At this time Persano joined 
Vacca's squadron with the Affondatore, placed her 
at the head of the line, and ordered the other vessels 
to follow her movements. These movements appear 
to have consisted in no more than a steady pursuit 
of a westerly course to the harbour of Ancona. 
By the battle of Lissa the Italians lost two iron- 
clads, the Re cC Italia and the Palestro. The Affon- 
datore sunk at Ancona, after reaching harbour. 
For three days the Italian people were led to believe 
that a victory had been won at Lissa. The morti- 
fication of the defeat, which then became known, 
was thereby increased. Persano was summoned 
before the Senate, and was deprived of all com- 
mand in the Italian navy. One remark appears 
patent, even to those who are quite unskilled in 
naval matters, that in the sea-fight Tegethoff led 
his fleet, Persano only directed his ; another, that 
the Italian admiral, with superior forces at his com- 
mand, allowed a section of his own fleet to be 
attacked and defeated at the decisive moment by a 
smaller force of his adversary. 

On the 21st, the Austrian admiral returned, 
without a vessel missing, to the roads of Fasana. 

PEACE BETWEEN ITALY AND AUSTRIA. 

The armistice concluded between Austria and 
Italy was to last from mid-day on the 13th August 
to the 9 th September. 

In the meantime negotiations for peace were 
opened at Vienna; and on the 3rd October a defi- 
nitive treaty was signed. By it Austria recognized 
the kingdom of Italy, and sanctioned the cession 
of Venetia to that power by the emperor of the 
French. The ratifications were exchanged as soon 
as possible. The Austrian commissioner-general 
Moring formally gave over Venetia to the French 
commissioner -general Lebosuf, when a plebiscite 
took place. The annexation to the kingdom of 
Victor Emmanuel was ahnost unanimously voted 



by the people of Venetia, and Italy became one 
great country, united under the sceptre of the 
House of Piedmont, and free of any foreign 
dominion, " from the Alps to the Adriatic." 

The Austrian surrender of Venetia to the em- 
peror of the French, and not to the king of Italy, 
was considered at the time a gratuitous insult to 
the latter power; but whether it was initiated by 
Austrian or French politicians has not yet been 
clearly ascertained. Louis Napoleon had reasons 
for wishing to play the patron to Italy, and may 
have thought of reviving his plan of an Italian 
Confederation, with Venetia as a nucleus. Austria, 
at least, was compelled to show deference to France 
in some way, if she would make terms with Prus- 
sia short of total ruin; and France accepted the 
present of Venetia for the sake, it is to be hoped, 
of the magnanimous pleasure of giving it back 
to its right owner. How far the emperor yielded 
to the pressure of united Prussia and Italy it 
would, perhaps, not be polite to surmise ; but that 
the Kaiser was disappointed with the use made of 
his gift, and the cheapness with which Italy made 
its acquisition, was generally believed. Yet there 
can be no doubt, and the Austrians by this time 
must be willing to admit the fact, that they are 
as much stronger, safer, and happier without Vene- 
tia, as Italy is stronger, safer, and happier with it. 
To the one nation it was a fretting incumbrance, 
always breeding sores in the body politic. To the 
other it is the completion, on one of its sides, of an 
organic body that will grow and develop with all 
the more success that its component parts are 
fairly welded together. Something, no doubt, was 
due to the policy which dictated Cialdini's march 
towards Venice after Austria's cession of the ter- 
ritory to France. Viennese politicians imagined 
that the Italians would not dare to invade " French 
territory;" but the army of Victor Emmanuel and 
its leaders were not so easily frightened, and their 
constancy was rewarded by the non-intervention 
of the French. The influence exercised by Louis 
Napoleon on the settlement of the Austro-Prussian 
quarrel was not so great as had been expected. 
He secured a nominal independence for the king- 
dom of Saxony, and a vague promise that the 
people of North Schleswig, who for the most part 
are Danes, should some day or other be allowed 
to settle their nationality, whether they would be 
German or Danish, by a popular vote. That day 
has not arrived yet, after a lapse of four years. 



112 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



Prussia's gain by the war was enormous. Her 
rival Austria was absolutely turned out of Ger- 
many, almost as completely as she had been turned 
out of Italy. Saxony was completely subordinate to 
Prussia. Hanover, Cassel, Darmstadt, and Nassau 
were bodily annexed to her. With a large com- 
pact territory north of the Maine, with some thirty 
millions of people homogeneous in language, cul- 
ture, taste, and mainly in religion, trained to 
arms and inspirited with the remembrance of 
great successes, she found herself at the doors 
of the smaller states south of the Maine who were 
unable to resist her influence or her arms, and 
felt constrained to agree to the military con- 
ventions which, for all purposes of peace and war, 
made the Germans a mighty irresistible nation. 
Prussia emerged from the war powerful abroad as 
well as at home. She could show that, having 
crushed Austria, she was afraid neither of France 
or Eussia, and those great domineering powers 
found themselves compelled to respect the new 
power that had arisen in Europe. Well for France 
had she seen as clearly as her ruler the power of 
the neighbour who quickly defied him, and denied 
him the smallest concession by way of restoring 
the equilibrium of the great powers of Europe. 

Much as Prussia has done by her military power 
and her excellent organization, English readers 
will do well to recollect the price that is paid 
for that state of national drill, which makes the 
whole population a powerful machine in the hands 
of a king, his ministers, and generals. We as 
a people should be very loath to sacrifice our 
personal freedom and individual independence 
to the exigencies of a rigorous military system, 
that with harsh if equal legality takes the squire 
from the hall, the peasant from the plough, the 
merchant from his counting house, the clerk from 
his desk, the artist from his studio, the tradesman 
from his shop, the artizan and the operative from 



their bench and from their loom, to serve an 
apprenticeship to the bloody genius of war. The 
battle for freedom which England fights most 
successfully has to be waged in the region of 
opinion and moral influence ; though she is 
obliged by the practices of her neighbours to 
maintain a large reserve of physical force, she 
will by her legislation, her literature, and her com- 
merce, encourage peace among nations and the 
domestic development of individual prosperity in 
all parts of the world. The glory of carrying on 
such a work will be far greater than the barbarous 
prestige conceded to military conquerors — a false 
glory, which it is fervently to be desired will at 
no distant date disappear, as the renown of being 
a successful duellist has already ceased to be an 
object of honourable ambition in civilized society. 
The great power and influence acquired by 
Prussia in her war with Austria and the overthrow 
of so many of the princelets of Germany was, men 
feared, to be used in favour of a feudal reaction, 
that should once more build up society on the 
basis of the divine right of kings, the blessedness 
of privilege, and the virtue of blue blood. But 
there is too much culture on the one hand, and 
too thorough a love of liberty on the other, for 
such a reaction to be possible in a territory in- 
habited by thirty or forty million people of Teu- 
tonic race. Despotism tempered by humanity, 
knowledge, and wisdom may be submitted to by 
a nation in times of crisis and transition, but its 
permanent enthronement will never be endured. 
Nor is it likely that unbridled democracy will 
gain possession of united Germany ; but a peaceful, 
orderly, representative government, in which every 
interest is allowed a voice, and a career is open to all 
talent, is that which seems destined to bind together 
for ages those parts of the great German family 
which have been so long separated by the narrow 
selfishness of feudal lords and petty princes. 



CHAPTER V. 



Leading Actors in the great Drama — The King-President of the North German Confederation — His Ancestry and their labours for Prussia— Pro- 
gressive enlargement of Territory and increase of Population — Conquests of Napoleon I. — Restorations and Additions at the Congress of 
Vienna — Birth of William — Flight from Berlin with Queen Louise — Maxim of Kant the Philosopher — Death of Louise — William in the 
War of Liberation — His sister Charlotte married to Nicholas of Russia — Friendship of the Brothers-in-law — Journey to Russia — Bite from 
a chained mastiff — Amateur actor in "Lalla Rookh" — Journey into Italy — Marriage with Princess Augusta of Saxe Weimar — William 
becomes Crown Prince and Governor of Pomerania — Opposed to violent Chaages of the Constitution — Intercourse with Bunsen — Tour 
in England and Scotland — Conversation with the Duke of Wellington — Attitude of the Crown Prince in 1848— Sudden visit to England — 
10th April, 1848, in London — Election to the Constituent Assembly — Command in Baden — Political Re-action— Governor of Westphalia 
and the Rhinelands — Residence at Coblentz — Illness of his brother the King — William made Regent — His first acquaintance with Bismarck 
— Accession to the Throne — Appoints Bismarck Prime Minister — In Denmark, 1864— At Gastein — Receives an ovation in Berlin, 29th 
June, 1866 — Goes into Bohemia — Risk of Capture — Anxious suspense at Sadowa — The King under fire — Triumphal Return to Berlin 
— The King's Brothers, Son, and Nephews — The Crown Prince— His Popularity— Military Talent— Domesticity — Prince Frederick Charles 
— "Always in the Front" — His Campaigns — Important Remarks on the Reformation of Military Tactics — Grand Duke of Mecklenburg, 
son of the King's sister — General Baron von Moltke — Sketch of his life — In Denmark, Prussia, Turkey, and Bohemia — His Lesson to a 
French officer— General von Roon, Minister of War — Vogel von Falckenstein in the War of Liberation — In Denmark— On the Maine — In 
Silesia — Austrian Notabilities — Archduke Albert — General Benedek — Results of the War to the two Antagonists — Prussia's gain — In 
Territory incorporated — In Influence over the New Confederation of North Germany — Sketch of the Confederation and its Constitution — 
Austria's loss— Of Territory in Italy— Of Influence in Germany— Her gain in Union with Hungary — New Constitution of the Double 
Austro-Hungarian Empire — Provincial Diets— Reichsrath— The Executive— Hungarian Chamber of Magnates and Deputies— County 
Meetings — Executive — Sketch of Count Beust — Speeches of Beust and of the Emperor — Deak Ferencz — History of his Labours for Hungary 
— Proceedings in Berlin — King's Speech — Coolness towards France — Address of the Chamber — Speech of Count von Bismarck — Applica- 
tion of the Prussian Constitution to the Incorporated States — Possibility of a renewal of War — The right of Prussia to annex is the right 
of Germany — Bill of Indemnity passed in favour of the Prussian Government — Reconciliation of the Chambers and the Government — The 
King's apology for annexing Hanover, &c. — Bismarck on the attitude of France in December, 1866 — Prussian Indulgence and Modesty- 
Austria's severance from the Confederation a positive advantage to France — France a match for the North German Confederation — 
Difficulty of ceding North Schleswig to the Danes with an Ethnological Frontier — Pressure on the Subject from France at Nikolsburg 
and Prague— Italy's fidelity to Prussia under temptation of the cession of Venetia through France — Remarks on the Delay of Prussia 
in fulfilling her Engagements with respect to North Schleswig — Germans not likely to prove an Aggressive Nation— Their Enthusiasm 
for the Unity of their Country traced back— Sufferings from Disunion— The Literature of Patriotism— Karl Theodor KOrner — "Father, 
on Thee I Call "—Professor Jahn— The poet Arndt— "What is the German Fatherland ? "— Niklas Becker— Max Schneckinger— The 
Rhine Watch, or "Who'll Guard the Rhine?"— A Song by Ruckert— Uhland. 



The elaborate narration of the events recorded 
in the last chapter was due not only to their in- 
trinsic importance, but also to their especial bear- 
ing upon the history which forms the substance 
of the present work. The Seven Week's War 
turned into a channel of practical effort all the 
streaming patriotism that had agitated the German 
mind for a century. The changes resulting from 
the successful conclusion of the war were preg- 
nant with other results very momentous, but not 
necessarily disastrous to Europe. It is necessary 
now to give a more personal account of the leading 
actors in that great drama, since they have all 
survived to play principal parts in the more 
tremendous tragedy yet to be described. 

To begin with King William, the President of 
the North German Confederation. The kings of 
Prussia, says Mr. Martin in his excellent " States- 
man's Year Book," trace their origin to Count 



Thassilo of Zollern, one of the generals of Charle- 
magne. His successor, Count Frederick I., built 
the family castle of Hohenzollern, near the Danube, 
in the year 980. A subsequent Zollern or Hohen- 
zollern, Frederick HI., was elevated to the rank of 
a prince of the Holy Roman Empire in 1273, and 
received the burgraviate of Nuremberg in fief; 
and his great grandson Frederick VI., being in- 
vested by Kaiser Sigismund, in 1411, with the 
province of Brandenburg, obtained the rank of 
elector in 1417. A century after, in 1511, the 
Teutonic Knights, owners of the large province 
of Prussia on the Baltic, elected Margrave Albert, 
a younger son of the family of Hohenzollern, to 
the post of grandmaster, and he, after a while, 
declared himself hereditary prince. The early 
extinction of Albert's fine brought the province 
of Prussia to the electors of Brandenburg, whose 
own territories meanwhile had been greatly en- 



114 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



larged by the valour and wisdom of Friedrich 
Wilhelm, the " Great Elector," under whose foster- 
ing care rose the first standing army in central 
Europe. The great elector, dying in 1688, left a 
country of one and a half millions, a vast treasure, 
and 38,000 of well drilled troops to his son 
Frederick I., who put the kingly crown on his 
head at Konigsberg, on the 18th of January, 
1701. The first king of Prussia made few efforts 
to increase the territory left him by the great 
elector; but his successor, Frederick William I., 
acquired a treasure of 9,000,000 of thalers, or 
nearly a million and a half sterling, bought family 
domains to the amount of 5,000,000 thalers, and 
raised the annual income of the country to 
6,000,000, three-fourths of which, however, had 
to be spent on the army. After adding part 
of Pomerania to the possessions of the house, he 
left his son and successor Frederick II., called 
" the Great," a state of 47,770 square miles, 
with 2,500,000 inhabitants. Frederick II. added 
Silesia, an area of 14,200 square miles, with 
1,250,000 souls. This, and the large territory 
gained in the first partition of Poland, increased 
Prussia to 74,340 square miles, with a popu- 
lation of more than 5,500,000. Under the reign 
of Frederick's successor, Frederick William II., 
the state was enlarged by the acquisition of the 
principalities of Anspach and Baireuth, as well 
as the vast territory acquired in another par- 
tition of Poland, which raised its area to the 
extent of nearly 100,000 square miles, with about 
9,000,000 souls. Under Frederick William III., 
nearly one half of this state and population 
was taken by Napoleon I. At the Congress of 
Vienna, however, not only was the loss restored, 
but much territory was added ; to wit, parts of the 
kingdom of Saxony, the Rhinelands, and Swedish 
Pomerania, moulding Prussia into two separated 
districts of a total area of 107,300 square miles. 

King William of Prussia, as already stated, is 
the second son of King Frederick William III., and 
of the heroic Queen Louise, who sustained the 
spirits of her husband and her countrymen during 
the terrible trial they underwent at the hands of 
Napoleon I. He was born in 1797, nine months 
before his father's accession to the throne. He 
is therefore old enough to remember the anguish 
of his parents and the humiliation of his native 
land. He was one of the children who fled with 
the beautiful queen, their mother, after the battle 



of Jena, from Berlin to Stettin, from Stettin to 
Konigsberg, from Konigsberg to Memel. Here 
the royal family lived in a simplicity that ap- 
proached penury ; the king having coined his 
plate to assist in the contribution exacted by the 
French. The queen and her eldest daughter were 
not above helping in affairs of the house. She 
looked more charming then, says an eye-witness, 
seated near a shabby table in a simple room, than 
at the grandest court festival crowded with golden 
uniforms and stars. 

The tutor of the young folks at this time was 
a Monsieur Chambeau from the French colony, 
who accompanied the family in their flight. One 
maxim of Kant's, the Konigsberg philosopher, was 
thoroughly inculcated into the minds of both the 
princes and princesses — " What a state loses in 
outward importance, must be replaced by inward 
greatness and development." Precious are the 
uses of adversity ! and wisely did Prussia, under 
the guidance of men like Stein, Gneisenau, Har- 
denberg, and others, apply to practice the profound 
maxim of her great thinker. It was at Konigsberg, 
to which the simple court returned from Memel 
after the treaty of Tilsit, that the queen gathered 
learned Germans to her evening parties, discussed 
methods of education, and encouraged outbursts 
of patriotic song, destined to penetrate and elevate 
the down-trodden nation. To all this young 
William was not insensible. Bitter to him and to 
them all was the premature death of their mother, 
in 1810, a year after her return to Berlin. The 
prince was bred to arms, and bore a part in the 
famous campaigns of 1813 and 1814, in which the 
power of the Corsican conqueror was broken at 
Leipzig and other places. The Westphalian king- 
dom of Jerome Bonaparte was restored with other 
spoils to the Prussian crown, and the four bronze 
horses were replaced in their rightful position over 
the Brandenburg gate at Berlin. 

When the Grand -duke Nicholas of Russia 
sought the hand of the Princess Charlotte of 
Prussia, she made a confidant of her brother 
William, who was able to tell the Puissian prince 
that his advances were not disagreeable to the young 
lady. From that time a fast friendship subsisted 
between the two princes, who, a year or two after- 
wards, became brothers-in-law. Their predilection 
for military occupations knitted their friendship 
with the bond of a common sympathy, as did their 
high notions of the royal prerogative and the right 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



115 



divine of kings. When the princess, in 1817, 
after two years' probation in the mysteries of the 
Busso-Greek Church, proceeded to Russia to her 
marriage, her brother William bore her company, 
and participated in the great bridal festivals that 
took place in Petersburg and Moscow. On their 
arrival at the Eussian capital, the Emperor Alex- 
ander introduced the young prince to the empress- 
mother, with the words, " Allow me to present 
to you my new brother ; " on which the sorely- 
tried widow of Paul I. replied, as she embraced 
him, " And I, too, gain a son." This simple 
record of an act of courtesy is a slender his- 
torical link uniting the invader of France in 
1870 with the murdered monarch of Eussia, who 
perished in 1801. The gorgeous splendour of the 
Eussian court offered a strong contrast to that 
of Berlin ; but Prince William's mind was always 
more set on solid advantage than on showy ap- 
pearance, and he was little affected by the oriental 
display of magnificence that he witnessed in the 
ancient and modern capitals of the Czar. His 
natural easy bearing in his intercourse with Eus- 
sian society, his activity in movement and liveli- 
ness of spirits, contrasted favourably with the stiff 
and formal manners of the Eussian archdukes, and 
won him golden opinions. While at his sister's 
country palace of Pavlosk he was one day bitten 
by a chained mastiff. As no one could say what 
the consequences might be, he was cauterized, and 
bore the operation with a good humour that caused 
the dowager-empress to exclaim, "No wonder! for 
he is a Prussian prince." 

In his old age the gallant king suffers, in the 
person of his subjects, from a chained mastiff 
of a fiercer kind, who has both inflicted and 
received wounds that nothing but the Lethean 
influence of time can heal or obliterate. Prince 
William was again in Petersburg in 1819, and 
was one of the few recipients of that momentous 
secret which the Emperor Alexander then first 
communicated to his second brother, to the effect 
that he proposed abdicating his throne in favour of 
Nicholas. Constantine had consented to the arrange- 
ment, and the king of Prussia was credited with 
a similar plan in favour of his eldest son. Neither 
plan came into operation ; but on Alexander's 
death, six years' later, Nicholas did supersede 
Constantine, the rightful heir to the throne, and 
had to suppress a military revolt in consequence. 
It is difficult to imagine the stern King William 



of the present playing a part on the mimic stage 
even fifty years ago; yet such was the case in 
1820, when he and his elder brother appeared at 
a court spectacle in Berlin as sons of Aurungzebe 
in Moore's "Lalla Eookh." Ernest, duke of Cum- 
berland, played Abdallah in the same representa- 
tion, little dreaming doubtless that the pleasant 
young man elbowing him in the crowd would one 
day oust his son and grandson from the crown 
and kingdom of Hanover. Not long after this, in 
1822, the prince went into Italy with his father 
and brother At Eome, while the learned Niebuhr 
conducted the king to all objects of interest in the 
city, the young prince's guide was the scholarly 
Bunsen, who found Prince William " a sober and 
manly" young gentleman. The marriage of the latter, 
in 1829, to the Princess Augusta of Saxe Weimar, 
sister to his brother Karl's wife, was the occasion 
of festivities as brilliant in their way, that is, in 
the frugal, practical, Prussian way, as had been the 
wedding ceremonies of his sister the empress of 
Eussia. During the life of his frugal father, the 
prince seems to have received little or no advance- 
ment in the public service. Yet his mind, though 
given principally to military studies, was not indif- 
ferent to the art and literature which flourished 
with so much lustre at his father's and his brother's 
court. On a visit to Peterhof in 1847 he is found 
advising with his brother-in-law, the Czar, upon 
architectural improvements, and discussing the 
merits of the public buildings, not of Italy only, 
but of England, a country not generally credited 
abroad with fine architecture. By the accession 
of his brother to the throne in 1840 William 
became Crown Prince, and was that year made 
governor of Pomerania. 

During the discussions on the new Prussian 
constitution, which took place in 1844, so 
decidedly opposed was the Crown Prince to 
certain liberal proposals which the king seemed 
inclined to adopt, that he avowed his intention 
of quitting the country if they were adopted. 
These proposals, it was said at court, emanated 
from Bunsen, who had been summoned from the 
embassy in London, and was daily closeted with 
the king, a circumstance that disposed the prince 
to regard the ambassador with an unfriendly eye. 
The feeling, however, quickly passed away ; for in 
August that year his royal highness paid a visit 
to Queen Victoria on the birth of her second son, 
and seized the opportunity of making a rapid tour 



116 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



through England and Scotland, with Bunsen for 
his guide. The king, who had a great liking for 
Bunsen and reverenced his character, was anxious 
that his brother should profit by the intercourse 
which this English trip afforded him. In a letter 
to his ambassador he wrote, " Talk over with 
William all things as much as possible, politics, 
church matters, the arts, Jerusalem in particular. 
I have begged him, on his part, to discuss every- 
thing unreservedly with you ; that will be most 
useful and very necessary." His present Prussian 
Majesty does not appear to have been deeply 
impressed with the " Jerusalem " part of the con- 
versations. He took an affection for England, 
however, and admired her greatness, which he 
attributed to her religious and political institutions. 
He took every opportunity of exchanging ideas 
with English notabilities, Bunsen acting as inter- 
preter. The duke of Wellington readily replied 
to questions on military subjects. Only one of 
his answers unfortunately is recorded, and is a 
reply to a question about military regulations : — 
" I know of none more important," he said, " than 
closely to attend to the comfort of the soldier : let 
him be well clothed, sheltered, and fed. How 
should he fight, poor fellow ! if, besides risking 
his life, he has to struggle with unnecessary hard- 
ships? Also he must not, if it can be helped, be 
struck by the balls before he is fairly in action. 
One ought to look sharp after the young officers, 
and be very indulgent to the soldiers." These 
words of the veteran were not forgotten by the 
prince. 

Conservative in politics, his royal highness 
met the democratic outbreak of 1848 with a very 
different countenance from that of his brother the 
king, who had dreams of universal philanthropy. 
So notoriously unpopular was he with the masses, 
that on news of the revolution being communi- 
cated to the alarmed empress of Russia, she fainted 
away, after exclaiming, " And my brother Wil- 
liam !" He did, in fact, take temporary refuge 
in England, and was in London on the famous 
10th of April, when the Chartists carried their 
monster petition through the streets, and tumults 
were anticipated. His royal highness was much 
struck with the duke of Wellington's reply to 
Bunsen's inquiry, " Your grace will take us all 
in charge, and London too, on Monday the 10th?" 
"Yes," was the answer, "we have taken our 
measures ; but not a soldier nor a piece of artillery 



shall you see, unless in actual need. Should the 
force of law — the mounted and unmounted police 
— be overpowered or in danger, then is their 
time. But it is not fair, on either side, to call them 
in to do the work of police ; the military must 
not be confounded with the police, nor merged 
in the police." The prince had arrived in London 
unexpectedly on the 27th of March, and after a 
stay of exactly two months he returned to Berlin, 
having been elected, in May, member of the Con- 
stituent Assembly by the constituency of Wiisitz 
in Posen, and he took his seat in that assembly on 
the 8th of June. The main cause of his unpopu- 
larity was doubtless due to his fondness for arms 
and the armed force, and his readiness to make 
use of them lor the maintenance of order. To him 
in the main is Prussia indebted for coming out of the 
crisis of 1848—49 in her ancient form of a kingdom, 
although it was with modifications. In June, 1849, 
he was appointed commander-in-chief of the forces 
sent against the revolutionists of Baden ; when 
with the partial use of the needle-gun he quelled 
the insurrection, and contributed no little to the 
return of the tide of re-action throughout Europe. 
He was soon after appointed military governor of 
Westphalia and the Rhine provinces, and settled 
in Coblentz. His regard for Prince Albert and the 
Queen brought him again to England " straight 
from Russia," in 1850, in order to be present at 
the christening of their son, his godchild, Prince 
Arthur. At the time of the war between Russia 
and the Western Powers he openly expressed 
an opinion, that if Prussia had assumed a firm 
attitude the Czar would not have proceeded with 
his aggression, and war would have been pre- 
vented. In that j'ear, 1854, he was appointed 
colonel-general of Prussian infantry, and governor 
of the federal fortress of Mayence. The mental 
disorder of his brother, the king, had reached a 
very advanced stage in 1857, and long before the 
men in office would admit his incapacity. The 
Crown Prince, however, would not accept the 
responsibilities of a ruler without the full power 
of regent, to which office he was at length called 
in October, 1858. 

His first acquaintance with his now celebrated 
minister dates as far back as 1836, when Bismarck 
and another law student of equally great stature 
were introduced to Prince William. "Well!" 
said the prince, gaily, " Justice seeks her young 
advocates according to the standard of the guards ;" 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



117 



a chance remark that, so far as Bismarck is con- 
cerned, has been verified in more senses than one. 
Yet, in 1851, when the Crown Prince was received 
at Frankfort by the Diet, he rather disapproved 
of "that militia lieutenant" — for Bismarck had 
appeared in uniform — being the representative 
of Prussia in the Diet of the Confederation. He 
also thought him too young at the age of thirty- 
six for so responsible an office. He was not long, 
however, in discovering the ripeness of the minis- 
ter's understanding, the vivacity of his ideas, and 
the strength of his character, which rapidly at- 
tracted the prince's good will, and a regard which 
soon ripened into intimate friendship. King 
Frederick William IV. died on 2nd January, 1861, 
and William ascended the throne. He spent part 
of the summer at Baden-Baden, where Bismarck, on 
leave from his Petersburg mission, had much con- 
versation with his new majesty. Upon one sub- 
ject these two were thoroughly agreed, that unless 
a total re-organization of their army were to take 
place, Prussia would not attain to a high position 
in the world. The consequence of this agreement 
became apparent the following year, when the king, 
after sending his friend on a brief embassy to Paris, 
appointed him minister-president. Here was the 
man to battle with liberalism and parliamentarian- 
ism, and to make a good army and a strong govern- 
ment! and the liberal ministry had to make way 
for him. It is a coup cCitat! exclaimed the demo- 
crats, and fiercely angry was the opposition which 
the appointment roused. Such strife as ensued in 
the Chamber of Deputies for the six years following 
has no parallel in parliamentary annals ; but the 
courage and constancy of the king and his minister 
triumphed over the fiery eloquence, and the really 
popular cause, of the opposition deputies. The 
king owned on one occasion the extent of his debt 
to his minister's pluck and perseverance. On being 
complimented during those troublous days on his 
own good looks, he pointed to Bismarck, and said, 
" There's my doctor!" In 1863 his Majesty ac- 
cepted the invitation of the emperor of Austria to a 
congress of princes at Gastein, where a reform of 
the Federation was proposed, under the direction 
of Austria. To this Prussia would not consent, 
nor would King William attend the subsequent 
meeting of German sovereigns at Frankfort, which 
was thus rendered inoperative. After the storming 
of Diippel by Prince Frederick Charles in 1864, 
the king proceeded to the seat of war, in order to 



congratulate his troops on the field of victory. In 
the autumn of the following year was concluded 
with Austria the Convention of Gastein, for reasons 
that probably were based on the king's personal regard 
for the emperor rather than from motives of policy, 
for it was plain that it must from political necessity 
soon be set at nought. The king's life was not 
an easy one. Working incessantly with his minis- 
ters at negotiation, and at administration, military, 
financial, and general, he had also frequent occasion 
to know that his life was in danger at the hands 
of excited enthusiasts of the liberal and democratic 
party. 

At length, in 1866, came the great event, the 
war with Austria, the triumph and enlargement 
of Prussia, which, in the eyes of his subjects, 
condoned all past errors, and made them proud 
of their king, his ministers, and his generals. 
The first news of victory over the Austrians was 
received in Berlin on the 29th June, while the 
king and Count von Bismarck were still in Berlin. 
The excitement among the people was tremendous. 
They sang Luther's hymn in front of the palace, 
"A strong tower is our God, a trusty shield and 
weapon," that hymn which ever since the battle 
of Leuthen has time after time aroused and sus- 
tained the Prussian soldier on the march to battle; 
and the king spoke to them from his balcony 
words known to be of thanks and congratulation, 
but inaudible in the deafening roar of human 
voices below. The minister-president also re- 
ceived an ovation, and ended his reply with a 
salute to the king and army. As he spoke, a 
tremendous peal of thunder reverberated over 
the city, which was illuminated by the accom- 
panying flash of lightning, and Bismarck's ringing 
voice was heard shouting above the multitude, 
"The heavens fire a salute." Next day the 
king set out for the seat of war, accompanied 
by his ministers. On the way they were so little 
guarded, that by the admission of Count von 
Bismarck himself, the Austrians, " had they sent 
cavalry from Leitmeritz, might have caught the 
king and all the rest of us." They met Prince Fre- 
derick Charles on the road to Gitchin on the 2nd 
July, and after a council of war held at midnight, 
resolved on the momentous battle of Kb'niggratz, 
or Sadowa, which began amid fog and rain at eight 
o'clock in the morning of the 3rd. Till mid-day 
the battle went on furiously, and the Austrians 
were certainly not worsted. " Noon arrived, says 



118 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



Ilezekiel, in a striking picture of the scene, " but 
no decisive news from the Crown Prince. Many 
a brave heart feared at that time for beloved 
Prussia. Dark were the looks in the neighbour- 
hood of the king ; old Roon, and Moltke of the 
bright face, sat there like two statues of bronze. 
It was whispered that Prince Frederick Charles 
would have to let loose against the foe his Bran- 
denburghers — his own beloved third corps, whom 
he had held in reserve — his stormers of Diippel, 
which would be setting his hazard on the die in 
very deed. Suddenly Bismarck lowered the glass 
through which he had been observing the country 
along which the Crown Prince was expected to 
come, and drew the attention of his neighbours 
to some lines in the far distance. All telescopes 
were pointed thitherward, but the lines were pro- 
nounced to be ploughed fields. There was a deep 
silence till the minister-president, lowering his 
glass again, said decidedly, ' They are not plough 
furrows, the spaces are not equal; they are 
marching lines!' He had been the first to dis- 
cover the advance of the second army. In a little 
while the adjutants with the intelligence flew 
about in every direction — The Crown Prince and 
victory are at hand ! " The -warlike old monarch 
dashed into the grenade fire of the enemy, on which 
Bismarck, who kept close to him, begged him to 
pause. ' As a major,' he said, ' I have no right 
to counsel your Majesty on the battlefield ; but as 
minister-president, it is my duty to beg your 
Majesty not to seek evident danger. ' ' How can 
I ride off when my army is under fire?' replied 
the stout-hearted king." The march on Vienna 
and the armistice of Xikolsburg soon followed. 

On the 20th September the victorious troops 
made their triumphal entry into Berlin, with the 
king, the royal princes, the ministers, and principal 
generals at their head. There rode Bismarck, 
Roon, and Moltke, Voigts-Rheetz, chief of the 
staff of the first army, Blumenthal, chief of the 
staff of the second army, and other personages 
almost as distinguished. Rejoicings and feastings 
ensued, and the now popular king anticipated a 
long and steadfast repose on his laurels. 

"We have always," said Count von Bismarck, in 
a speech delivered to some Holsteiners in Decem- 
ber, 1866, some three months after the peace of 
Prague, "we have always belonged to each other as 
Germans ; we have ever been brothers ; but we 
were unconscious of it. In this country there were 



different races — Schleswigers, Holsteiners, Lauen- 
burgers ; elsewhere too, there are Mecklenburgers, 
Hanoverians, Liibeckcrs, and Hamburgers. They 
are all free to remain what they are, in the know- 
ledge that they are Germans — that they are 
brothers. To the wisdom and energy of one man 
we owe it, that at length we are able to recognize, 
vividly and with joy, our common German descent 
and solidarity. Him we must thank— our lord 
and king — with a hearty cheer, lor having ren- 
dered this consciousness of our common relation- 
ship a truth and a fact. Long live his Majesty, 
our most gracious king and sovereign, William 
I. ! " This pithy expression of satisfaction at the- 
great work achieved is as honourable to the min- 
ister who prompted the task as to the sovereign 
who responded to the call made on his energies 
in carrying it out. 

Other skilful aid he had besides that of his 
minister-president. More fortunate than many 
kings, he found conspicuous valour and ability in 
members of his own family. To say nothing of 
his brothers Karl, commander of the Prussian artil- 
lery, and Albrecht, general of cavalry, who held 
high military command with credit, there were 
his son the Crown Prince, and his two nephews, 
Prince Friedrich Karl and the Grand-duke of 
Mecklenburg, who distinguished themselves in the 
field of battle. 

THE CBOWN PRINCE. 

The Hohenzollerns, says Carlyle in his " His- 
tory of Frederick the Great," are men who seek no 
fighting where such can be avoided; but who can, 
when it is necessary, carry on a brisk and vigorous 
attack. These words apply not only to the present 
head of the family, but peculiarly to the person of 
his son. Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia was 
born on the 18th October, 1831, the anniversary 
of the day on which the great battle of Leipzig 
was fought, the battle of German deliverance 
from the Gallic yoke. This anniversary has 
always been marked by the fires which burn 
on the German hills, and in the year 1831 
these fires proclaimed a happy day. From his 
mother, Queen Augusta of the royal house of 
Weimar, the prince inherited the unassuming 
kindness and true-heartedness of disposition 
which distinguish him, together with a certain 
gentleness in judging others, and liberality in 
political affairs, which have not hitherto charac- 




•aiyTC KolL from a Bvttofcxgh. 



N P US Q Kl E E (B [F P 1 U S S D A\ 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



119 



terized members of the family. The prince was 
educated at the University of Bonn, and after 
finishing college studies, he began the service of 
the pike and drum. He married on the 28th 
January, 1858, Victoria, princess royal of Great 
Britain and Ireland, who has borne him a nume- 
rous offspring. A pleasant and genuinely German 
family life is that of the prince. Art and science 
are much encouraged by him. A tall stately 
man, says one who saw him at Berlin in 1867, 
with a brave handsome countenance, and looking 
•taller in his light blue dragoon uniform with the 
yellow collar, which he wears but seldom. When 
■engaged in conversation the serious, almost solemn, 
look which marks his face in repose, gives way 
to an expression of pleasant animation. 

The inexhaustible humour and good temper 
with which the prince took part in the winter 
•campaign against Denmark, made him beloved 
by the soldiers. The year 1866 strengthened the 
confidence he had already won. On the day of 
Koniggratz he had the difficult task, described 
in the previous chapter, of debouching with the 
second army through narrow dales and vast forests, 
until towards mid-day he succeeded in surrounding 
the left wing of the enemy. The movement that 
he effected despite so many difficulties determined 
the issue of the battle. The correct eye of the prince, 
which sees quickly the right thing to be done, 
his indefatigableness and energy, are the theme of 
admiration to those who know him. One striking 
proof of the confidence reposed in him by his 
father's subjects, is the exclamation not seldom 
heard uttered by parents of the youths summoned 
to march under the standard: "It's all right if 
they join the Crown Prince, they will be in good 
hands." The emphatic testimony of one of the 
German historians of the war, who compares the 
generalship of the Crown Prince with that of his 
cousin Friedrich, is to the effect that the method 
of the former in conducting the campaign calls 
to mind the masterly enterprise of renowned 
captains. The conflict between the Government 
and the House of Deputies brought him trouble too. 
It was to the Crown Prince, whose predilection 
for free parliamentary government he well knew, 
that Count von Bismarck on one occasion made 
the remarkable statement of his devotion to 
the idea of German unity. "What matter," he 
said, " if they hang me, provided that the rope 
bv which I am hung, bind this new Germany to 



your throne." Worthy son of a worthy sire, the 
prince gives promise that the splendid crown 
awaiting him, will rest on brows which, however 
they may ache with toil and care, will never 
harbour an ignoble thought or unmanly purpose. 

PRINCE FREDERICK CHARLES. 

" Prince always in the front" (Prim allzeit 
vorauf), thus the people named the Hohenzollern 
cavalry general in the year 1866, and even as 
" allzeit vorauf " he has lived in the minds of 
the people ever since cannon shot for the first time 
crashed around him at Missunde. The German 
soldiery have a more affectionate regard for 
that sobriquet than for the newer title given by 
the people, of " Red Prince." Born in 1828, as the 
son of Prince Karl, brother of the king, he quickly 
ascended the step-ladder of military honour. With 
the Hohenzollerns it is an old piece of family pride 
to show themselves worthy of such honours by 
unwearied care and study, and in the service of 
their house to use it for the best interests of the 
army. In the year 1864 the prince first had an 
opportunity of showing the world that Prussian skill 
and bravery had not degenerated during a long 
time of peace. In 1866 he led the first army into 
Bohemia, and won the unreserved confidence of 
his soldiers and the fame of a bold general. A 
critic, already quoted, says of this prince's conduct 
of this campaign, that he pursued his way with 
extraordinary circumspection, following the tactics 
of a wary general, anxious for the security of his 
flanks, driving the enemy quietly before him, but 
leaving little to chance ; doing his work cleanly, 
but too slowly for the attainment of the combined 
plans. In his operations, as well as in battle, he 
was always concentrated, and moved frontwise, 
whereas the Crown Prince generally took up a 
broad front, threatening and attacking the enemy 
in flank, forgetting his own line of retreat, but 
looking sharply after that of his opponent. Prince 
Frederick's method is correct according to the 
systematic teaching of the school of Archduke 
Charles. His leisure after the Bohemian campaign 
was employed in preparing a pamphlet about French 
military science, the delicate thorough observations 
of which show that his courage was coupled with 
superior intellectual power. Up to 1859 the 
Prussian tactics, says Colonel Chesney, remained 
as they were left after Waterloo, and thought 
was first bestowed upon them when the French 



120 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



fought and won the battle of Solferino. This 
battle aroused the deepest anxiety in the minds 
of the Prussians, and the well-known lecture of 
Prince Frederick Charles, who put before the 
Prussians the principles upon which the French 
had fought and conquered, took a deep hold, 
not merely because the lecturer was a prince, 
but because men felt that he dealt with a 
want of their time. The prince pointed out that 
the French fought in loose formation, but above 
all, with a design; and from that time the great 
subject of study was, " How to beat the French 
by using their own freedom of movement." The 
result was that the Prussian system was changed 
in 1861. The Prussian Tactical Instructions of 
1861 laid aside all attempts to teach men by rule 
— officers were given principles, and left to work 
out their applications by themselves. The pro- 
posals of Prince Frederick Charles led to breaking 
up battalions, so as to allow of the formation of 
company columns, gaining thereby elasticity in 
the movements of infantry. The Austro-Prussian 
war, which followed soon after, was too short 
to display fully the effect of the new tactics ; 
but there were two remarkable mistakes and fail- 
ures, at Langensalza and Trautenau, where the 
defeat of the Prussians occurred from special causes. 
It is a remarkable fact in favour of the Prussian 
system, that the general in command at Trautenau 
is in high favour at the present time, and the 
subject of that defeat has been a matter of special 
study by the Prussians since, showing that they 
are not ashamed of profiting by their own mis- 
takes. If to know his enemy accurately be a 
condition of victory, the Prussian commander of 
the first army in Bohemia was well qualified for 
his position. 

GRAND DUKE OF MECKLENBURG. 

Another nephew of the king distinguished as a 
military commander is Frederick Francis, grand- 
duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, son of the Grand- 
duke Paul Frederick, and of the Princess Alexandra 
of Prussia. He was born on the 18th February, 
1823, and carried on his studies at the university 
of Bonn, when the death of his father, on the 
7th of March, 1842, left him possessor of the 
grand-ducal throne. The revolutionary move- 
ment of 1848 obliged him to make some liberal 
modifications of the constitution; but in 1851 the 
aristocratic party among his subjects managed to 



get the old state of things re-established. In 
1849 the grand-duke married Augusta Mathilda 
Wilhelmina, daughter of Henry, prince of Beuss- 
Schleiss. By her he has had several children, 
the eldest of whom, Francis Paul, was born on 
the 19th March, 1851. In 1866 he was appointed 
to the command of the second Prussian reserved 
corps at Leipzig, and on the 18th of July was 
charged with the duty of occupying Franconia, a 
task he accomplished with as much promptitude 
and skill as humanity and kind feeling towards the 
inhabitants of the invaded territory. He was on 
his way to unite his forces with those of General 
Manteuffel, when news of the armistice put a stop 
to further operations. . The king of Prussia on 
this occasion sent the " order of merit " to the 
grand-duke with an autograph letter. 

GENERAL BARON VON MOLTKE. 

The first rank after the royal commanders of 
the Prussian forces is unquestionably due to 
General von Moltke. So unobtrusive has been the 
life of this eminent man and so opposed to display 
is his character, that materials for his biography 
are extremely scanty. " And that is really Von 
Moltke ! " said one who saw the great strate- 
gist for the first time; " that tall thin man without 
any moustache or whiskers, his hands behind his 
back — the officer with very short gTeyish hair, 
and a face cut with many fine lines, his head 
slightly stooped, his eyebrows pronounced, and 
the eyes deep set." Yes. there is the man whom 
the Junkers of Berlin called " the old school- 
master." " What a lesson he has taught the 
enemies of his country ! " He is the man who 
caught Benedek in a vice at Ko'niggratz, and pre- 
pared for greater things to come. " He always 
looks very grave." He is pre-eminently a nine- 
teenth century man, having been born in the year 
1800, and a self-made man, having been a soldier 
since his twentieth year, owing his advancement 
to his own efforts. " I like self-made men," once 
remarked Count von Bismarck, "it is the best sort 
of manufacture in our race." The birthplace of 
Moltke is Gnewitz in Mecklenburg, the Slavonic 
name of which signifies " anger." The Christian 
names of the baron are Helrnuth Charles Bernard, 
the first of which being purely German may be 
interpreted by the word " heroism." If the 
general's history should pass, in a remote future, 
into the mythic stage, here are two points that 




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POM RISE [FiEIIDEIMM (DM MQ.E5S. 



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JJEffiM f GD W 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



121 



will be valued by the epic poet who may treat the 
subject. 

On completing his college career young Moltke 
entered the military service of the king of Denmark, 
but in 1822 passed over to that of Prussia. By a 
process of self-teaching he acquired a remarkable 
knowledge of modern languages, an accomplish- 
ment which gave rise to the familiar saying that 
he was " silent in seven tongues." When he had 
been ten years in the Prussian service his talents 
and large information procured him an appoint- 
ment on the staff. In 1835 he travelled in the 
East and was presented to Sultan Mahmoud. That 
sovereign, full of schemes of military reform in 
his empire, requested the German officer to enter 
his service; and failing in that request persuaded 
him to obtain a long furlough for service of a 
limited period, that he might initiate the Father 
of the faithful in new theories of strategy, and 
direct the military reforms his Majesty had so 
much at heart. The earnest and fruitful study he 
made of the military art at this time may be seen 
in his excellent "History of the Russo-Turkish 
Campaign, 1828—29," which is full of shrewd 
observation and practical instruction. This work 
was published in 1845, after his return to Berlin, 
and was translated into English at the commence- 
ment of the Crimean war in 1854; the translator, 
who is anonymous, makes a statement in his 
preface that proves how thoroughly Moltke kept 
out of the sight of the world. " Baron von Moltke, 
who is now dead, was despatched to the Turkish 
army by order of his own sovereign, at the express 
request of Sultan Mahmoud, and served with it 
through the campaigns here described." The cam- 
paign he did serve in was that of Syria, which took 
place in 1839. He published another work in 
184*1 concerning Turkey, entitled " Letters on the 
Occurrences in Turkey from 1835 to 1839." Two 
earlier literary productions attributed to him may 
be mentioned here, namely, an historical view of 
Belgium and Holland, published in 1831 ; and the 
year following a paper upon Poland. Soon after 
his return from Turkey to Prussia he was appointed 
in 1846 aide-de-camp to Prince Henry, who lived 
in retirement at Rome, and died there the ensuing 
year. After executing missions intrusted to him 
in his capacity of an officer on the staff, Moltke 
in 1856 became aide-de-camp to Prince Friedrich 
Wilhelm, the present Crown Prince, who doubtless 
owes to him much of that military knowledge 



and skill of which he has proved himself master. 
Three years later Moltke was made chief of the 
staff of the army, and his first important task was 
to draw up a plan of operations with a view to 
intervention in the Franco-Austrian war in Italy 
of 1859. The peace of Villafranca obviated the 
necessity of any military movements at that time; 
but the effort to be in readiness had revealed 
to the practised eye of the chief of the staff 
defects that needed absolute cure ere the Prussian 
army could become an instrument of any consider- 
able weight in Europe. The maxim of the great 
Kb'nigsberger already quoted fermented in a power- 
ful mind, and " the loss that the Prussian state had 
sustained in outward importance was now to be 
rapidly replaced by inward greatness and develop- 
ment in a military sense." The first successful 
operations of the re-organized army in the Danish 
campaign of 1864 were conducted on a plan 
advised by Baron von Moltke, who accompanied 
Prince Friedrich Karl, the commander-in-chief, 
throughout the expedition. 

The very next year he was actively engaged in 
preparing a plan of campaign in anticipation of 
war with Austria, and when war was declared some- 
what later, in 1866, his plan was faithfully carried 
out. Accompanying the king into Bohemia, he 
directed the march on Vienna which had such a 
stimulating effect on the Austrian authorities, and 
induced the acceptance of the preliminaries of 
Nikolsburg. It was Moltke who on the 22nd 
June granted the truce of five days, that led to 
the armistice. The entire confidence of the king 
in his able lieutenant was pleasantly illustrated by 
his Majesty's reply to some general who wanted 
troops detached for his reinforcement, "Ask him 
there ! " pointing to Moltke, with a smile, " he 
wants them all ; I dont know if he will let me have 
my body guard for long." It was on the occasion 
of the armistice of Nikolsburg that the king 
decorated Baron von Moltke with the distinguished 
order of the Black Eagle. That short and sharp 
campaign did indeed render fully manifest the 
remarkable powers of the general, and enforced the 
claims made for him by his admirers to be the 
greatest strategist of the age. War has been to 
him a purely scientific study, wholly devoid of 
passion, of political or personal feeling. He has 
acquired his knowledge as a skilful chemist comes 
to know chemistry — by study, by experiment, and 
by combination. All possible aids that he can 
Q 



122 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



discover or think of are brought in as auxiliaries 
to victory. The remarkable use made of the 
telegraph wires in the Bohemian campaign is an 
instance of this. The carriages conveying the 
telegraphic instruments formed a nearer adjunct 
of the staff at head-quarters than the ammunition 
or provision waggons. 

The following interesting glimpse of the general 
as a teacher is from the pen of a recent French 
writer : — " MacMahon is supposed to have adopted 
tactics which are not new ; namely, to act above 
all with his artillery, said to be formidable, and to 
spare his men as much as possible. Napoleon I., 
of whom General de Moltke is only the pupil, 
never proceeded otherwise. He it was who first 
imagined the great concentration of troops by 
rapid marches. M. de Moltke, his fervent admirer, 
has always manifested the greatest contempt for 
our strategy. I remember having heard quoted 
some of his very words addressed to a French 
officer on a mission to Berlin — ' Do not talk to 
me of your military education in Africa. If you 
have never been there, so much the better ; when 
you become general you will be glad of it. The 
war you have been carrying on for forty years 
against the Arabs is a guerillerie of an inferior 
order. Never any skilful marches, no feints, 
no countermarches, rarely any surprises. With 
that school you will do nothing more than form 
other schools like it. The first great war will 
demonstrate your inefficiency; and were I not in 
presence of a man of your merit, sir, I should not 
hesitate to laugh at your ignorance of the trade to 
which you devote yourselves. Amongst you — do 
not deny it — a pioneer is almost a ridiculous per- 
son, and in general the working man is one of 
mean intelligence. Here, on the contrary, the 
most conscientious studies are in the order of the 
day, and the lowest captain knows as much as your 
staff-officers who are so brilliant in the ball-room. 
Have you even a superficial smattering of the 
elements of the military art on leaving your 
special schools? I am tempted to doubt it. 
Come now,' continued General de Moltke, taking 
the other by the hand, ' I wager that you do not 
know what is the most valuable piece of furniture 
for the chamber of an officer in garrison. Come 
with me.' So saying, the old Prussian led his 
interlocutor into a small bed-chamber suited to a 
sub-lieutenant ; a small bed without curtains, three 
straw chairs, shelves of books from the floor to 



the roof, and in the middle of the room a black 
wooden board on an easel, the ground strewed with 
morsels of chalk. ' It is with this that we beat 
our adversaries every morning,' murmured the 
old tactician. 'And for drawing, here is all we 
want,' and M. de Moltke exhibited some geo- 
graphical maps." 

GENERAL VON BOON. 

Albert Theodore Emile von Boon is a general, a 
statesman, and a man of letters. He was born on 
the 30th of April, 1803, and after an education at 
the cadet school, entered the army as an officer 
in 1821. From 1824 to 1827 he followed the 
higher course of the general military school, and 
became instructor in the cadet school at Berlin. 
He soon acquired the reputation of a master in 
geography and military science. Some of his 
works published at this time obtained a large 
circulation, notably, " Principles of Ethnographical 
and Political Geography," published in 1832, of 
which an elementary abridgment appeared two 
years afterwards. He also published, in 1837, 
" Military Geography of Europe;" and in 1839, 
" The Iberian Peninsula in its Military Aspect." 
This last work refers more especially to the civil 
wars of Spain. Notwithstanding his literary la- 
bours, Herr von Boon pursued his professional 
career with the utmost regularity. Having made 
in 1832 a campaign of observation in Belgium at 
the time of the siege of Antwerp, he was attached 
first to the topographical department, then to the 
general staff, and in 1836 became captain. His 
succeeding grades came at intervals of a few years ; 
major in 1842, chief of the staff in 1848, lieuten- 
ant-colonel the year following, major-general in 
1856, and lieutenant-general in 1859. From the 
year 1848 he held various commands, and fulfilled 
several important missions. On two occasions he 
was charged with the duty of mobilizing the army, 
particularly in 1859, when the French emperor's 
precipitate peace with the Kaiser obviated the 
necessity of assembling the Prussian army. To 
Boon was confided the education of Prince Fred- 
erick Charles, whom he accompanied to the uni- 
versity of Bonn, and in divers voyages about 
Europe. On the 16th April, 1861, he was called 
to preside over the ministry of marine, to which 
a few months later was added the more responsible 
function of minister of war, which he has retained 
ever since. At the head of these united sendees 




avel Ty Sol fi»m a- Hiotograjl-. 



N UR 



: -iCOH. EDINBL RGH 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



123 



he displayed much energy and perseverance during 
the ensuing troublous years of parliamentary war- 
fare, heartily seconding the king's projects for 
military re-organization. These, as we have seen, 
he realized, spite of the adverse majority in the 
Chamber. He had much to do in preparing for 
the Bohemian and other campaigns of 1866, 
accompanied the king with other ministers to 
Sadowa, and contributed no small share to the 
greatness which his country achieved in that 
eventful year. Well did the king say of him and 
his distinguished colleague, " Von Roon has sharp- 
ened our sword, Von Moltke has guided it." 

EDWARD VOGEL VON FAI.CKENSTEIN 

is one of the most popular men in Germany. He 
is admired as the veteran soldier of the war of 
liberation, and for the inexhaustible vigour of 
youth which leads him at a great age from fight to 
fight, and from victory to victory. The general 
was born on the 5th January, 1797, the same year 
with the king, and at sixteen years of age entered 
the West Prussian grenadier regiment as volunteer 
jager, only to be promoted to lieutenant, after he had 
fought in the battles of Gross-Gb'rschen, Bautzen, 
and Hatzbach. The campaign of 1814, in which 
he fought at Montmirail, Chateau-Thierry, Thion- 
ville, Mercy, and Laon, brought him the iron 
cross. In the year 1815 he was on duty in front 
of Paris. He was in Schleswig for the first time 
in 1848, and again in 1864. He was appointed 
in 1866 to be commander general of the army 
of the Maine, end after a display of consum- 
mate generalship entered Frankfort, as we have 
shown, at the head of the cuirassiers, with his 
trumpeters pealing out the Prussian national song. 
A bitter hour was it for the general when he 
was called away from the command of the 
army of the Maine, in consequence of events not 
yet fully explained. He was appointed military 
governor of Bohemia, which appointment he 
declined, until reconciled by the kind advances of 
King William at Nikolsburg. In the autumn of 
1866 he received the command of the first army 
corps, from which the king called him to the shores 
of the Baltic. 

Many other eminent leaders were there in the 
Prussian army — Manteuffel, Steinmetz, Goben, 
Voigts Rhetz, and others whose names are em- 
blazoned on the roll of military renown. Of the 
great mover of this momentous war, the schemer 



of the mighty changes which have followed it, 
Count von Bismarck, a detailed biographical sketch 
is given at the end of Chapter III., in the second 
portion of this work. To turn to the Austrian 
side, there were three commanders of their army 
more distinguished than the rest, though but one 
of them enjoyed the glory of a victory. They 
are the Archduke Albert, who was victorious at 
Custozza, the Crown Prince of Saxony, and General 
Benedek. Of the Emperor Francis Joseph him- 
self a sufficient account has already been given in 
the course of this historical introduction. 

ARCHDUKE ALBERT. 

The archduke was the inheritor of military 
fame if not of ability, being the son of that 
Archduke Charles who was the most successful 
antagonist of Napoleon I. in the early part of 
the conqueror's career. Albert was born in 1817, 
and educated for the army, in which he obtained 
early command, not only as a privilege of his 
rank, but in deference to his knowledge and 
merit. He first distinguished himself as a 
general of cavalry. In the troublous days of 
1849 he served under the veteran Kadetzky, and 
bore an important part in the battle of Novara, 
so fatal to the Piedmontese. At the end of the 
Italian campaign he was appointed to the com- 
mand of the third Austrian army corps. On the 
reduction of Hungary to submission he was ap- 
pointed governor general of that kingdom, an 
office which he retained until 1860. The previous 
year he had been sent on a mission to Prussia, which 
proved fruitless, and in the Franco- Austrian war he 
commanded a force that was not called into action. 
For a short time he took the place of Count 
Griiner at the head of the war office. In 1861 
he replaced Benedek, during a temporary absence, 
in the command of the Austrian forces in the 
Lombardo- Venetian kingdom. In the war of 
1866 he held the supreme command of the im- 
perial Austrian army of the South, and, as already 
described, inflicted upon the Italians a severe 
blow in the battle of Custozza. After the defeat 
of Sadowa he superseded Benedek as commander- 
in-chief of the imperial forces. 

THE CROWN PRINCE OF SAXONY. 

This prince was possessed of excellent mili- 
tary qualities, and would probably have been 
more fortunate in the war of Bohemia had he 



124 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



not been fighting, in the opinion of many of 
his father's subjects and soldiers, against the 
German cause. Descended from one of the oldest 
reigning houses in Europe, which gave an emperor 
to Germany in the tenth century, the prince, 
whose name is Frederick Augustus Albert, was 
born in 1828. Though his father is known as 
the German translator of Dante, and his uncle the 
late king was celebrated as a botanist, the present 
crown prince was trained to the profession of arms, 
and as lieutenant-general was made commander 
of the infantry force of Saxony. Commander 
of the Saxon army in 1866, he found himself 
obliged to retire from his own country before the 
superior force of Prince Frederick Charles of 
Prussia, and he joined the Austrian army in 
Bohemia with a force of 25,000 combatants and 
sixty guns. He was hotly engaged in the battle 
of Gitschin, and obstinately defended the village 
of Diletz, but his gallant troops fell in heaps before 
the murderous needle-gun, and he, his father, and 
country had to submit to the will of the conqueror, 
whose terms, though hard enough, would have 
been still more humiliating to Saxony but for the 
intervention of the French emperor. 

FELDZEUGMEISTER LOtTS VON BENEDEK. 

This general was born in 180-1 at (Edenbourg 
in Hungary, the son of a doctor. He studied 
military science in the academy at Neustadt, 
entered the Austrian army in 1822 as cornet, 
and rose rapidly to the rank of colonel, which 
he attained in 1843. Two years later, at the 
time of the insurrection in Galicia, having dis- 
tinguished himself by his courage and military 
talents, he was commissioned by the Archduke 
Ferdinand d'Este to make peace with the western 
part of the province. His skilful movements 
there enabled General Collin to march forward 
and take Podgorze by storm. On this occasion 
Benedek obtained the insignia of the Order of 
Leopold. In 1847 he was at the head of the 
Comte de Giulai's regiment of infantry, when he 
received orders to rejoin the army of Italy. Dur- 
ing the campaign of 1848 he showed much pres- 
ence of mind in the retreat from Milan, at Osone, 
and especially at the battle of Curtatone, where 
he was the last to withstand the enemy's attacks. 
Lauded for distinguished service in the order of 
the day by Marshal Eadetzki, he was presented 
with the Order of Maria Theresa. 



On the renewal of hostilities in 1849 he was 
present at the surrender of Mortara, and fought at 
the head of his regiment at Xovara. On the 3rd 
April, 1849, Benedek was appointed major-general 
and brigadier of the first reserve corps of the army 
of the Danube, and took an active part in the mili- 
tary affairs of Hungary. At Kaab and at Oszony 
he commanded the vanguard, and was slightly 
wounded at Uj-Szegcdin. At the battle of Szorn- 
yeozs-Iviiny he was hurt by the explosion of a 
shell. At the end of this war he went into the 
second corps of the army in Italy, in the capacity 
of chief of the staff. 

During the war of 1859 against Piedmont and 
France he covered the Austrian retreat from Milan 
to the Mincio, and at the battle of Solferino he 
commanded the right Austrian wing, which at 
one instant had the advantage over the left wing 
of the allies. He afterwards supplied the place of 
Marshal Hess in the chief command of the army. 
After the peace of Yillafranca the feldzeugmeister 
remained in Venetia at the head of the Austrian 
troops, and the proclamations which he made to his 
soldiers attracted much notice, as eloquent appeals, 
calculated to keep them faithful to their allegiance, 
despite the variety of nationalities and the differ- 
ences of their political opinions. In 1866, after 
much caballing and opposition on the part of the 
aristocratic party at the court of Vienna, which 
would confer high rank and supreme power on 
nobody less than an archduke, he was raised to 
the command of the army, which consisted of 
250,000 men, and had a fine artillery of 600 guns. 
That he was beaten so disastrously by the Prus- 
sians was due perhaps as much to the defective 
organization of the force he commanded, and, as 
is said, to the reluctant obedience of some of his 
high-titled subordinates, as to the superior strategy 
of the Prussian generals. 

RESULTS OF THE WAR TO THE TWO COMBATANTS. 

The results of the contest carried on by 
these men and their followers was to Prussia, 
first of all, a gain of territory to the following 
extent. To the nine provinces of which the 
kingdom previously consisted were added by 
incorporation, Hanover, Hesse - Cassel, Xassau, 
Hesse-Homburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Lauen- 
burg; that part of Hesse-Darmstadt that lies to 
the north of the Maine, and the little principality 
of Hohenzollern — the cradle of the Prussian royal 




kCKENZIE. ..: 




N. EDINBURGH S iLASGOW 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



125 



house, situated on the borders of Lake Constance, 
between Wiirtemburg and Switzerland. Prussia 
was thus formed into a compact state of 137,066 
square miles, with a population of 22,769,436 souls. 
Added to this was her leadership of the new Con- 
federation into which Saxony and other minor 
powers were compelled to fall after the victory of 
Sadowa. The basis of a new German empire was 
firmly laid by Prussian genius and valour ; and to 
Prussia rightly belonged the headship which it is 
fervently to be hoped she will not abuse. 

The ancient Germanic empire was dissolved in 
1806 by the Conqueror Napoleon I., reconstituted 
as a confederacy of thirty-nine states by the peace- 
makers of Vienna in 1815, again dissolved in 1866, 
and partially restored, without Austria, after the 
treaty of Prague, as the North German Confedera- 
tion. Pending their final union under one govern- 
ment, presciently wrote Mr. Martin in his Year-book 
of 1869 — pending that union which every patriotic 
German felt to be certain of speedy accomplish- 
ment — the old states of the Confederation were 
ranged provisionally in two groups, North Germany 
and South Germany. The former, including twenty- 
one states, was placed under the absolute undi- 
vided leadership of Prussia; while South Germany, 
numbering five states, formed an unconnected 
cluster of semi-independent sovereignties. The 
two divisions were to some extent bound together 
by treaties of peace and alliance between Prussia 
and the three principal states of the south, Bavaria, 
Wiirtemburg, and Baden. By the treaty between 
Prussia and Bavaria, dated August 22, 1866, the 
two contracting powers mutually guaranteed the 
integrity of their respective territories, with all 
the military forces at their disposal; it being 
further stipulated that, in case of war, the king of 
Prussia should have the supreme command of the 
Bavarian army. The treaties between Prussia and 
Wiirtemburg, and Prussia and Baden, dated 26th 
August and 18th August, 1866, were precisely of 
the same tenour, both providing a strict military 
alliance and union of armies in time of war. These 
diplomatic achievements, which in the autumn of 
1866 crowned the victorious war, were followed 
in the spring of 1867 by legislative acts of no less 
importance. A representative assembly elected 
by universal suffrage, at the rate of one member 
for 100,000 souls, met at Berlin on the 24th of 
February, and by the 16th of April had discussed 
and adopted a constitutional charter, by which the 



whole of the states of North Germany were united 
into a federative empire. The charter entitled "the 
constitution of the North German Confederation," 
consists of fifteen chapters, comprising seventy- 
nine articles, with a preamble declaring that the 
governments of the states enumerated form them- 
selves into a perpetual confederation or union for 
the protection of the territory and institutions of 
the union, and for the care of the German people's 
welfare. The twenty-one states enumerated in 
the charter are, Prussia, Saxony, Mecklenburg- 
Schwerin, Oldenburg, Brunswick, Saxe-Weimar, 
Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Saxe-Meiningen, Anhalt, 
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Altenburg, Waldeck, 
Lippe - Detmold, Schwarzburg - Sondershausen, 
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Eeuss-Schleiz, Beuss- 
Greiz, Schaumburg-Lippe, Hamburg, Lubeck, and 
Bremen. When it is recollected that Henry, the 
twenty-second Prince of Reuss-Greiz, reigned over 
a population of about 40,000 souls, and that the 
public income of his realm was less than £30,000, 
and that six or seven of his co-princelets were 
in no better condition, the reader will doubtless 
sympathize with the strong German feeling that 
desired to see these frittered atoms of power 
welded together in one mighty sceptre. The execu- 
tive power of the confederation was vested in the 
Prussian crown. The king of Prussia, under the 
title of Lord President, had to act on behalf of the 
Confederation in its intercourse with foreign states. 
To him was given the right of appointing ambas- 
sadors, of declaring war, or of concluding peace. 
He also had to appoint a chancellor of the Con- 
federation, who should preside over the Federal 
council, and his first and inevitable choice was 
Count von Bismarck. The lord president enforces 
the observance of federal laws, and has the right 
to compel disobedient or negligent members to 
fulfil their federal duties. He has also the un- 
restricted command of the army and navy of the 
federation, the organization of the naval service, 
and the appointment of all officers and civil 
functionaries. The contributions of the several 
states in the Confederation to the cost of the 
general administration, is regulated by the rate 
of population. 

By the terms of the charter the legislative 
power of the Confederation was vested in two 
representative bodies; the first delegated by the 
various governments, called the Federal Council, 
or Bundesrath, and the second elected by the 



126 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



population, and styled the Diet of the realm, 
or " Reichstag." To the council each of the 
twenty-one governments of the Confederation sends 
a deputy, who has one vote with the following 
exceptions: — The deputies from Brunswick and 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin have two votes each, the 
delegate of Saxony has four votes, and the repre- 
sentative of Prussia seventeen; making a total of 
forty-two votes, and giving the Prussian govern- 
ment a preponderance that may easily be turned 
into an absolute majority, by the subservience of 
one or two neighbouring states. The Diet is 
elected by universal suffrage for the term of three 
years, and meets in annual session. It is indepen- 
dent of the council, but the members of that body 
have the right to be present at the sittings, in 
order to make known the views of their respec- 
tive governments. The initiative of legislative 
acts belongs to the Diet. 

Austria, the other antagonist in the war of 1866, 
though suffering deeply in every point that was 
dear to her ancient traditionary policy, was yet 
not irreparably injured. Indeed, in many respects, 
she will no doubt discover in the course of time 
that her disasters of that year were pregnant 
with future national benefits. She lost Venetia, 
and with it happily the Lombardo- Venetian debt, 
which was transferred to Italy by the terms of 
the treaty of Prague; but her own debt was 
augmented by the addition of three hundred 
million florins (£30,000,000), by reason of the 
war. Her military and financial position was 
severely shaken, and for a time there was danger 
of internal disruption, owing to the universal 
dissatisfaction of the people of Hungary. She was 
thrust out, too, of the German Confederation, a 
circumstance far from agreeable to her 8,000,000 
German subjects. Grown -wiser at last, and pro- 
fiting by the hard lessons they had received, 
the emperor and his ministers set sincerely to 
work at reforming the evils complained of by 
the several nationalities of the empire. To the 
Germans were granted free speech, free press, 
free education, and a popular Parliament. The 
pope and his cardinals were told that perfect 
toleration in matteis of religion would henceforth 
be observed throughout the empire, and that the 
stringent provisions of the last concordat would 
cease to operate. To Hungary was restored her 
national constitution, which is of very ancient 
date, and is based mainly upon unwritten laws 



that have acquired authority in the course of 
centuries. Austria, in fact, became a bipartite 
state, consisting of a German monarchy headed 
by the emperor, and a Magyar kingdom, with 
the self-same chieftain bearing the ancient title 
of king. 

The constitution granted in 1849, after the 
great revolutionary outbreak, had been repealed 
by an imperial decree of the 31st of December,. 
1851, which substituted a more absolute form 
of government. New edicts in the ensuing years 
altered the national charter, until by a patent of 
February 26, 1861, the constitution was estab- 
lished which, though suspended in the years 
1865 and 1866, has been since 1867 the form of 
government prevailing in the empire. Very signi- 
ficantly the path of political reform in Austria, 
and of reconciliation with Hungary, was entered 
upon by a ministry led by Baron von Beust, 
an ancient rival of Count von Bismarck in the 
old Diet, and for some time the prime minister 
of the king of Saxony. The main features of 
the new constitution are a double legislature, 
connected together under one sovereign, the 
hereditary emperor-king, by a common army and 
navy and by a governing body known as the 
Delegations. The Delegations form a Parliament 
of 120 members, of whom one half are chosen by 
the legislature of German or Cisleithan Austria, 
and the other half represent Hungary, the Trans- 
leithan kingdom. The Upper House of each 
kingdom returns twenty deputies, the Lower House 
forty. In all matters affecting the affairs of the 
whole empire, the Delegations have a decisive vote, 
which requires neither the confirmation nor appro- 
bation of the assemblies from which they spring 
Austrians and Hungarians sit generally in separate 
chambers; but when disagreements arise, the two 
bodies of delegates meet together, and without 
further debate give a final vote, which is binding 
for the whole empire. Specially within the juris- 
diction of the Delegations are all matters affecting 
foreign affairs, war, and finance, involving an 
executive of three ministers representing those 
three departments, who are severally and solely 
responsible to the Delegations. 

The separate constitution of German Austria, or 
Cisleithania, consists, first, of the Provincial Diets, 
representing the various states of the monarchy; 
and secondly', a Central Diet, called the Eeichsrath, 
or Council of the Empire. There are fourteen 







E R 



U S T 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



127 



Provincial Diets, namely, for Bohemia, Dalmatia, 
Galicia, Higher Austria, Lower Austria, Salzburg, 
Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Bukowina, Moravia, 
Silesia, Tyrol and Vorarlberg, Istria and Trieste; 
all which are formed in nearly the same manner, 
differing only in the number of deputies. Each 
•consists of one assembly only, composed, first, of 
the archbishop and bishops of the Roman Catholic 
■and Oriental Greek churches, and the chancellors 
of universities ; secondly, of the representatives of 
great estates, elected by all landowners paying 
not less than 100 florins, or £10, taxes; thirdly, 
of the representatives of towns, elected by those 
citizens who possess municipal rights; fourthly, 
of the representatives of boards of commerce and 
trade unions, chosen by the respective members; 
and fifthly, of the representatives of rural com- 
munes, elected by such inhabitants as pay a small 
amount of direct taxation. The Provincial Diets 
are competent to make laws concerning local 
administration, particularly those affecting county 
taxation, the cultivation of the soil, educational, 
church, and charitable institutions, and public 
works executed at the public expense. 

The Reichsrath, or Parliament of the western 
part of the empire, consists of an Upper and a 
Lower House. The Upper House is formed — 1st, 
of the princes of the imperial family who are of 
age ; 2nd, -of a number of nobles — sixty-two in 
the present Reichsrath — possessing large landed 
property, on whom the emperor may confer the 
dignity of state councillors ; 3rd, of the arch- 
bishops and bishops who are of princely rank ; 
and 4th, of any other life-members, nominated by 
the emperor on account of being distinguished in 
art or science, or who have rendered signal ser- 
vices to church or state, of whom there are forty- 
seven in the present Reichsrath. The Lower 
House is composed of 203 members, elected by 
the fourteen Provincial Diets of the empire, in the 
following proportions : — Bohemia, 54 ; Dalmatia, 
5 ; Galicia, 38 ; Higher Austria, 10 ; Lower Aus- 
tria, 18 ; Salzburg, 3 ; Styria, 13 ; Carinthia, 5 ; 
Carniola, 6 ; Bukowina, 5 ; Moravia, 22 ; Silesia, 
6; Tyrol and Vorarlberg, 12; Istria and Trieste, 
6. The election for the Lower House of the 
Reichsrath is made in the assembled Provincial 
Diets, the elected deputies to be members of 
such Diets. The emperor has the right, how- 
ever, to order the elections to take place directly 
by the varioiis constituencies of the provincial 



representatives, should the Diets refuse or neglect 
to send members to the Reichsrath. The emperor 
nominates the presidents and vice-presidents of 
both chambers of the Reichsrath, the remaining 
functionaries being chosen by the members of the 
two Houses. It is incumbent upon the head of 
the state to assemble the Reichsrath annually. 
The rights which, in consequence of the diploma 
of October 20, 1860, and the patent of February 
26, 1861, are conferred upon the Reichsrath, are 
as follows : — 1st, Consentient authority with 
respect to all laws relating to military duty ; 
2nd, Co-operation in the legislature on trade 
and commerce, customs, banking, posting, tele- 
graph, and railway matters ; 3rd, Examination of 
the estimates of the income and expenditure of 
the state; of the bills on taxation, public loans, 
and conversion of the funds ; and general control 
of the public debt. To give validity to bills 
passed by the Reichsrath, the consent of both 
chambers is required, as well as the sanction of 
the head of the state. The members of both the 
Upper and the Lower House have the right to 
propose new laws on subjects within the compe- 
tence of the Reichsrath, but in all other matters 
the initiative belongs solely to the government. 

The executive of Austria Proper consists, under 
the emperor, of the following branches of admin- 
istration: — 1st, the president of the council ; 2nd, 
the ministry of finance ; 3rd, the ministry of the 
interior and national defence ; 4th, the ministry 
of public education and ecclesiastical affairs ; 5th, 
the ministry of commerce and agriculture; 6th, the 
ministry of justice. The responsibility of mini- 
sters for acts committed in the discharge of their 
official functions was established, for the first time, 
by a bill which passed the Reichsrath in July, 
1867, and received the sanction of the emperor. 

The constitution of the eastern part of the 
empire, or the kingdom of Hungary, including 
Hungary Proper, Croatia, Slavonia, and Tran- 
sylvania, is of very ancient date, and based mainly 
upon unwritten laws that grew up in the course 
of centuries. There exists no charter, or con- 
stitutional code, but in place of it are fundamental 
statutes, published at long intervals of time. The 
principal of them, the " Aurea Bulla" of King 
Andrew II., was granted in 1222, and changed 
the form of government, which had until then 
been completely autocratic, into an aristocratic 
monarchy. Almost all subsequent rulers endeav- 



128 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



oared, though with little or no success, to extend 
the royal prerogatives, the struggle lasting, with 
more or less interruption, till the year 1867, when 
the present king, having failed in his attempt 
to weld Hungary to his imperial dominions, 
acknowledged and took oath upon the ancient 
constitution. The form of government established 
by it is oligarchical in essence, leaving the whole 
legislation and internal administration of the 
country in the hands of the native nobility, com- 
prising above half a million individuals, and giving 
to the king little more than the chief command 
of the army, and the right and duty to protect 
the realm against foreign enemies. The power of 
legislation and of taxation is vested in two great 
representative bodies; the first the Diet, or Par- 
liament, and the second the County Meetings. 
Since 1562 the Diet consists of an upper and 
lower house, the first known as the Chamber of 
Magnates, and the second as the Chamber of 
Deputies. The Chamber of Magnates is com- 
posed, first, of the prelates, comprising thirty-five 
Roman Catholic and twelve Greek archbishops and 
bishops, headed by the primate, the archbishop 
of Gran; secondly, of the " barones et comites 
regni" or peers of the realm, in two classes; 
thirdly, of the great officers of the crown, with 
the lords-lieutenant of the fifty-two counties; and 
fourthly, the barons summoned by royal letters, 
including every prime count and baron of twenty- 
five years of age. Magnates who are absent depute 
representatives, as do also the widows of magnates ; 
but these deputies sit in the second Chamber, where 
they can speak, but have no vote. The Lower Cham- 
ber is made up of representatives of the towns and 
rural districts of the kingdom, the latter elected at 
the County Meetings. Much of the business of 
the Lower Chamber is previously discussed in a 
committee of the whole house, called a " circular 
session," in which strict forms are not observed, 
and each member speaks as often as he can get 
a hearing. The speeches in both chambers are 
usually made in Hungarian. Among the mag- 
nates some few speak Latin ; but this language has 
almost entirely fallen into disuse. The "personal" 
or president of the Lower Chamber, who is also 
chief judge of the " royal table," is appointed by 
the crown. When the Diet assembles the " proposi- 
tions " of the crown are first presented to it for con- 
sideration, and these form the great business of each 
session; but proposals also originate in the Lower 



Chamber, which, when agreed to by the Magnates, 
are sent to the king, who communicates his assent 
by a royal " resolution." Many propositions re- 
jected by the crown are voted anew in every Diet, 
under the title of " Gravamina." Scarcely inferior 
in political importance to the Diet are the County 
Meetings. They are of two kinds, called respect- 
ively " Eestorations " and "Congregations." In 
the former the parliamentary deputies, as well as 
all county officers, are chosen, while the latter 
are occupied w y ith local legislation and taxation, 
and the general business of the district. A large 
amount of this business consists in iraming instruc- 
tions for the representatives at the Diet, who are 
considered mere delegates, bound to adhere to the 
will of their constituents, to whom they apply for 
directions in all difficult or doubtful questions. 
The County Meeting may even recall a refractory 
member, and send another in his place, thus assum- 
ing direct control over the Diet. The executive 
is exercised, in the name of the king, by a res- 
ponsible ministry, consisting of eight departments, 
namely: — 1st, the presidency of the council; 
2nd, the ministry of national defence; 3rd, the 
ministry of finance ; 4th, the ministry of the 
interior ; 5th, the ministry of education and of 
public worship ; 6th, the ministry of justice ; 
7th, the ministry of public works ; 8th, the 
ministry of agriculture, industry, and commerce; 
9th, the ministry for Croatia and Slavonia. 

The sovereign of Hungary, though emperor of 
Austria, is styled " king " in all public acts, and the 
regalia of the crown are guarded by a special corps 
of halberdiers in the palace at Buda, whence they 
are only removed for the sovereign's use on state 
occasions. The grand officers of the court and 
household are numerous, and are termed " aulae 
ministeriales." These are the grand justiciary, or 
" index curia?;" the ban of Croatia ; the arch-trea- 
surer, or " tavernicorum regalium magister;" the 
great cup-bearer, or "pincernarum reg. mag;" the 
grand carver, or " dapiferorum reg. mag.;" the 
master of the household, or "agazonum reg. mag.;" 
the grand porter, or "janitorum reg. mag.;" the 
master of the ceremonies, or " curias reg. mag. ;" 
and the captain of the body guard, or " capitaneus 
nobilis turmae prretorianse." The exchequer is 
managed by the " Hofkammer," which has its 
seat at Buda, and under which are the collectors 
of taxes, the mining boards, and the directors of 
the crown domains. 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



129 



Modern history, says a recent writer, exhibits 
no such example of the hopeless confusion and 
seemingly inevitable dissolution of a great histor- 
ical power, as Austria afforded after the defeat of 
Sadowa. At the close of 1866 men thought that 
the empire was falling asunder, and that nowhere 
among its fifteen nationalities, all strangers to each 
other in language and race, was there any conscious 
principle of Austrian unity and independence. 
At least, no such idea showed anywhere signs of 
life. Many able politicians considered that the dis- 
appearance of Austria from the map was only a 
question of time ; and prudent statesmen thought 
it necessary to make this eventuality a factor in 
their calculations of the future. Neither Prussia 
after Jena, nor the French empire after Moscow, 
Leipzig, and Waterloo, nor Austria herself during 
the Revolution of 1848, can be compared with 
Austria after the peace of Prague. Conquered 
and prostrate, owing her nominal existence to the 
selfish intercession of doubtful friends, shut out 
from Germany, despaired of but hardly regretted 
by her peoples, with her forces demoralized and 
dissolved in spite of their victories in Italy and on 
the Adriatic, and on the brink of national bank- 
ruptcy, Austria saw her rival and conqueror rise in 
a few weeks from a dubious rank to be supreme 
over Germany, and the dictator of Central Europe, 
whose commands no one of the great powers ven- 
tured to gainsay, and whose apparent tendencies to 
national unity found a ready echo either in the 
hopes and admiration, or in the fears and hallucin- 
ations, of the German populations and their princes. 

COUNT VON BEUST. 

Three years passed, and the relative position of 
the two German powers was greatly modified by 
the revival of Austria and the reform of her institu- 
tions. The principal author of these reforms was 
Count von Beust, whose name will henceforth be 
inseparably connected with this remarkable epoch 
in Austrian history. At the beginning of the war 
of 1866 he accompanied his then master, the king 
of Saxony, into Austria to oppose the Prussian in- 
vasion. There was an ancient antagonism, dating 
from long past discussions in the Frankfort Diet, 
between Beust and Bismarck ; and when peace was 
made between Saxony and Prussia after Sadowa, 
the latter insisted upon the dismissal of the former 
from the council of the Saxon king. Though the 
minister of a small state, he had frequently been 



concerned in questions of European importance. 
By a curious coincidence, he had taken a peculiar 
part in the Prussian crisis which ended in the 
elevation of Count von Bismarck to the premier- 
ship, and the count's hostility was not diminished 
by these little known circumstances. 

Frederick Ferdinand, Baron von Beust, was 
born at Dresden on the 13th January, 1809. 
Brother to the eminent Saxon geologist, Frederick 
Constantine Beust, he studied with him at Got- 
tingen, where he acquired a taste for politics and 
diplomacy, under the teaching of Sartorius, Heeren, 
Eichorn, and men of like calibre. He underwent 
his examinations and took his degrees at Leipzig, 
and on his return to Dresden, in 1831, he entered 
the foreign office of the Saxon government. After 
holding the post of assessor of land-survey in 1832, 
he spent between two and three years in visiting 
Switzerland, France, and England. He became 
secretary of the Saxon legation at Berlin in 1836, 
occupied the same post at Paris in 1838, was 
charge 1 d'affaires at Munich in 1841, resident min- 
ister in London in 1846, and ambassador to the 
court of Berlin in 1848. In February, 1849, 
he was appointed minister for Foreign Affairs for 
Saxony in the so-called Held cabinet, and received 
the portfolio for Agriculture in the following May. 
He took a prominent part in the discussions pre- 
ceding' the treaty of 1852, and in 1853 became 
minister of the Interior, when he resigned his post 
as minister of Agriculture. At the time of the 
crisis brought on by the question of constitutional 
organization, he declared himself opposed to the 
constitution, claimed the support of Prussia, and 
became a member of the Zchinsky cabinet as min- 
ister for Foreign Affairs, and of Public Worship also. 
In this latter capacity he introduced several im- 
provements into the administration of ecclesiastical 
affairs. On the breaking out of the Danish war in 
1863, Baron von Beust distinguished himself by 
his fidelity to Federal interests, and by a rebuke 
he administered to Lord Russell in answer to a 
despatch from the latter. He represented the Ger- 
manic Diet at the London Conference of 1864, 
during the continuance of which he twice visited 
Paris to confer with the Emperor Napoleon, whose 
guest he was afterwards at Fontainebleau. 

A short time after the peace of Prague, it was 
proposed to make him foreign minister at Vienna. 
He had had ample means of studying the affairs of 
Austria, and had also become acquainted with her 



130 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



populations. But his position only gave him a 
single voice in the council of ministers, and that 
not a decisive one in home affairs. There were 
many people who, at his accession to office, 
thought it safe to predict for him a speedy fall, 
as soon as he proved an obstacle to Belcredi and 
Esterhazy. The public at large received him 
with little confidence, and with small expectation 
of his liberal principles being carried out. For 
they did not reflect on the peculiar conditions 
which affected the system he had administered 
amongst the middle states. Napoleon III. showed 
that he understood him better, when he said to 
him, " Saxony is too small for you." His first 
act as minister was to issue the pacific circular 
of the 2nd November, in which he defined his 
position. In this circular he protested that he 
came to his post perfectly free from all resent- 
ment and all predilection, and that the imperial 
government, whose urgent duty it was to efface 
the traces of a disastrous war, would remain faith- 
ful to its policy of peace and conciliation. On 
the emperor's return to Vienna, Baron von Beust 
received the further appointment of minister of 
the household. 

To the new minister a hearty reconciliation 
with Hungary was a matter of primary import- 
ance. Renewed negotiations were opened at 
Vienna with the deputation from Pesth, to which 
place Baron von Beust went on the 21st Decem- 
ber with the Hungarian chancellor. It appeared 
certain that this business had been taken out of 
the irresolute hands of Belcredi and the reac- 
tionists, and the lock in the cabinet was at an 
end. Still Beust's original and comprehensive 
ideas had by no means prevailed. Many such 
brave beginnings had within the last twenty 
years withered beneath the powerful court influ- 
ence of the Austrian nobility and clergy. It 
was not likely that a foreigner, a Protestant, a 
" small baron," should succeed in breaking down 
the bulwark of tenacious traditions, exclusive in- 
terests, and inveterate prejudices. Or if he gained 
a momentary success, there were still intriguers 
and flatterers to catch him in their more deceitful 
toils. Again, there was no demonstration that 
he was master of any extraordinary ideas, bold 
schemes, or daring resolutions, or that he had 
the energy and prudence to carry them out. In 
his new career he had not yet succeeded: in his 
old one he had been baffled. Thus the year 



1866 was drawing to a close, amidst the intense 
expectation of the patriots, when suddenly, just at 
its end, on the 28th December, a purely absolutist 
decree ordered the immediate completion of the 
army, and a new regulation of public defence for 
the whole empire, except the Military Frontier. 
This blunder of his rivals, and similar unconsti- 
tutional propositions, brought on a crisis in the 
cabinet, and Baron von Beust threatened to resign. 
He gained his point. A complete rupture was 
made with the system hitherto prevailing; and an 
imperial decree of the 4th of February restored 
the operation of the constitution so far as it did 
not affect the compromise with Hungary. Three 
days afterwards Belcredi and Esterhazy were 
dismissed; and Beust then became president of 
the council, minister for Foreign Affairs, and chan- 
cellor of the empire. Deak was called to Vienna, 
and had an interview of special importance with 
the emperor. The principles of the revived con- 
stitution were clearly defined; and the question 
now was, whether the practice would answer to 
the theory. It was a time of deliberate and de- 
cisive measures, and complete reconciliation with 
Hungary was resolved on. 

The Rcichsrath was not assembled before the 
20th of May, nor the convoking patent issued 
before the 26th of April, because it was necessary 
that the Hungarian Parliament should have pre- 
viously accepted a compromise compatible with 
imperial government. Here also there were diffi- 
culties; the democratic party in the Hungarian 
Parliament maintained an obstinate fight for ten 
days in favour of the merely personal union; and 
the victory, at one time considered doubtful, was 
only obtained by a brilliant speech from Deak, 
which was followed by a division of 257 against 
117 on the 30th of March, 1867. 

In the Upper House the compromise was unani- 
mously accepted, after an insignificant opposition, 
on the 3rd of April. And now the regeneration 
of the eastern part of the monarchy seemed to be 
accomplished ; and Baron von Beust was entitled to 
regard with complacency the results of his system 
and of his efforts. But he could not forget that 
as yet he had only half finished his task of recon- 
struction; for he had to persuade the Eeichsrath 
to accept, aprfo coup, a compromise on which it 
had not been consulted, and he had to establish 
the constitutional institutions of the western por- 
tion of the empire on another basis of com- 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



131 



promise altogether foreign to Hungarian wants 
and tendencies. 

The chancellor's popularity was rapidly increas- 
ing, but he could not easily make a strong minis- 
terial party in the Austrian Chambers. Hungarian 
jealousy being allayed, however, the questions 
connected with the army, finance, and foreign 
affairs were settled in the Reichsrath without 
much opposition. A very important novelty was 
introduced at the same time into the administra- 
tion by the baron, in the form of the Red Book — 
the first of a series of publications of diplomatic 
papers and parliamentary debates, on the affairs 
of the whole Austro- Hungarian monarchy. The 
documents gave evidence of a clear, consequent, 
and uniform policy, that inspired confidence both 
by its directness and its freedom. The Prussian 
press attacked the Red Book, and suggested to 
the Hungarians that it was a covert for imperial 
intrigues; but their inuendoes did no harm to 
Austria. The Reichsrath, under the guidance of 
the chancellor, did noble work in the session of 
1868; confirmed the compromise with Hungary, 
reviewed the concordat with Rome, and in fine, 
rebuilt the constitution of the Austrian empire. 
The following extracts from speeches of the 
chancellor and of the emperor will show how 
minister and master agreed in their views, and 
what great things they were enabled thus to work 
out for their country. 

At the end of October, Baron von Beust having 
in his speech on the army budget represented 
the political situation of Europe as rather critical, 
was reminded that Lord Stanley, the English for- 
eign minister, had a short timo before spoken of 
it in more favourable terms ; upon which he said, 
" My position differs materially from that of the 
English secretary of State. Lord Stanley is the 
minister of a country surrounded and protected 
by the sea: I have the honour of directing the 
affairs of a state which has every reason to beware 
of its neighbours. We should, of course, be glad 
to be on friendly terms with Prussia, and are even 
endeavouring to improve our relations with the St. 
Petersburg cabinet; but, as I said, we must be on 
our guard, though there is nothing to excite our 
immediate fears." 

There was, however, little confidence at Vienna 
in either Prussia or Russia. " That Austria's 
military preparations are merely defensive, re- 
marked the semi-official journal, must be plain to 



any one that is not wilfully blind. To assume 
the contrary is simply to offend against common 
sense, or to enact over again the old story of the 
lamb and the wolf. But, of course, we owe it 
to our own interests not to allow ourselves to 
be netted and bagged. Our rival is showing an 
unmistakable intention of reviving the Oriental 
question, to enable him to cross the Maine. It is 
this policy which encourages Russia to assume a 
haughty and menacing attitude towards Western 
Europe, and which is evidently intent on encom- 
passing Austria with flames of revolutionary fire, 
from the Red Tower Pass to the Alps, from the 
River Save to the Boeca di Cattaro." In October, 
Baron von Beust made a speech, justifyingthe neces- 
sity of keeping the Austrian army on the war footing 
of 800,000 men. "Austria," he said, "maintains 
the best relations with France and England, and 
is also upon the most friendly footing with Italy. 
The latter power, however, has not always complete 
freedom of action. Austria remains unchanged in 
her resolve to abandon all policy of revenge against 
Prussia, while with Russia she seeks to maintain 
friendly relations. In view, however, of the pos- 
sibility of a conflict between France and Prussia, 
Austria is obliged to remain armed, as much to 
cause her own neutrality to be respected, as to 
keep back other powers who might be inclined 
to attack." 

To the same effect was the emperor's address 
to the army on the 8th December: — "The mon- 
archy wants peace ; we must know how to main- 
tain it. For this purpose I have had presented 
to both legislatures a bill by which, in case of 
necessity, the whole population may rise in arms 
to defend the dearest interests of the country. 
Both legislatures have passed it, and I have sanc- 
tioned it. The re-organization of the empire has 
been effected on those historical bases on which 
it reposed in the times when it fought out the 
most difficult wars successfully. Both sides of my 
empire will have henceforth the same interests in 
defending its security and power. My army thereby 
gains an auxiliary which will support it in good 
and ill fortune. My people, without distinction 
of class, will now, according to the law, rank 
under my colours proudly. Let the army be the 
school of that courage without which empires 
cannot maintain themselves. My army has gone 
through hard trials, but its courage is not broken, 
and my faith in it is not shaken. The path of 



132 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



honour and loyalty, on which the hrave sons of 
my empire have followed hitherto, may be their 
path henceforth too. Let them be faithful to 
their past, and bring with them the glorious tradi- 
tions of former times. Progressing in science, and 
in the spirit of the times strengthened by new 
elements, it will inspire respect to the enemy, and 
be a stronghold of throne and empire." 

In his speech on closing the Diet, as king of 
Hungary, he said, " We called you together three 
years ago, under difficult and anxious circum- 
stances, to accomplish a great task. Our common 
aim and endeavour has been to solve all those 
questions which, not only in these last times, but 
for centuries, have been the sources of distrust 
and of collisions. I having been crowned with 
the crown of St. Stephen, inherited from my 
ancestors, the Hungarian constitution has become 
a full reality. The union of Hungary and Tran- 
sylvania, of Croatia and Sclavonia, has become 
an accomplished fact, and the integrity of the 
empire of St. Stephen has been restored in a 
way in which it has not existed for the last 
three hundred years. You have recognized the 
necessity of a common army ; you have inaugu- 
rated a system of education which will serve as 
a support to material and intellectual progress. 
You have extended the civil and political rights 
which the citizens belonging to the different races 
had already enjoyed, to the use of their language 
likewise, granting all those wishes which are not 
in opposition to the law and good government. 
You have extended political rights to the Israelites, 
who, until now, knew only the charges, and not 
the advantages, of the constitution. You have 
regulated the relations of the different confessions 
on the basis of civil and religious equality. By 
the new regulation of judicial procedure you have 
facilitated the prompt administration of justice 
and the consolidation of private credit. The 
symptoms of material and moral improvement 
which are apparent everywhere may fill your 
hearts with joy, and if once the success follows 
with which Providence rewards perseverance 
and energy, posterity will gratefully remember 
those who have been the instruments of the wel- 
fare of the country. May the Almighty make 
this loyal understanding lasting- — this understand- 
ing which has not only produced great political 
results, but which has linked together sovereign 
and people in the bonds of mutual confidence 



and love, and which has made us feel that only 
a happy nation can have a happy sovereign." 
Noble words spoken with royal frankness and 
sincerity, and exhibiting a picture of national 
revival in the space of three years, hardly to be 
paralleled in the history of nations. 

DEAK FERENCZ. 

The peaceful restoration of Austria to the rank 
of a great power could hardly have been brought 
about in so brief a space of time, spite of the able 
efforts of Count von Beust, had it not been for 
the extraordinary influence and wise moderation 
of one man, Deak the Hungarian patriot. In 
him, says M. de Laveleye, we see a simple 
lawyer, unknown to Europe, borne to the head 
of an heroic nation by dint of his public virtue 
alone, dictate the conditions of the reconstitution 
of the Austrian empire, confirm to the descendant 
of so many emperors the crown of St. Stephen, 
and by wielding the confidence of his fellow 
citizens, determine the fate of that powerful 
state at a time of momentous crisis. A sketch 
of his life and opinions cannot but be instructive 
and interesting. Francis Deak, or Deak Ferencz 
(for in Hungary the practice is to place the 
baptismal name after that of the family), was born 
on the 13th of October, 1803, at Sojtor in the 
county of Zala, the son of a country gentleman, 
who farmed his own land. He was educated at 
Kaab, where also he entered the profession of law, 
and followed at the same time with eagerness the 
politics of the day. The resistance of the Magyars 
to the encroachments of the court at Vienna had 
been suspended during the Napoleonic wars, but 
broke out with fresh vigour about the time when 
the young advocate attained his majority. When 
after long delay the Diet was assembled at Presburg 
in 1825, a spirit of independence was manifested 
that thoroughly alarmed the imperial government. 
That was the " revival Diet." Deak engaged heart 
and soul in the contest. Entitled to take part 
in county meetings by his rank of gentleman (of 
whom there were 600,000 in the kingdom, for the 
most part poor as Job), and also by his position 
as member of a liberal profession, he soon dis- 
tinguished himself as an orator at those quarterly 
assemblies. The appointment to local offices in 
Hungary is made almost always by popular election, 
and gives frequent occasion to animated debates. 
A strong supporter of modern ideas on the subject 



THE FRANCO PRUSSIAN WAR. 



133 



of personal freedom and equal justice for all, he 
was at the same time a staunch maintainer of the 
ancient privileges of his country, her language, 
her institutions, her nationality. He soon became 
the leader of his party in the county, and a fit 
and proper person to represent it in the National 
Assembly. He was elected, at the age of twenty- 
two, to succeed his brother as member for their 
native county in the Diet of 1825. He was well 
received by the opposition party, the party of 
progress, to which he belonged, at the head of 
which was the celebrated Count Sze'chenyi, and he 
was complimented by his first opponent in debate, 
Pazmandy. It was, however, in the Diet which sat 
from 1832 to 1836 that he came to the front rank. 
His speeches were lucid and convincing rather than 
brilliant, replete with knowledge and sound logic 
without much ornament. With these he came 
by degrees to master a most excitable assembly, 
which he patiently educated up to his own point 
of view. At the close of that Diet a word from 
Deak would command a majority. The govern- 
ment at Vienna obstinately opposed all the demands 
of the Magyars, and the Diet of 1839 came together 
full of anger. Deak, at the head of the opposition, 
forced an" amnesty from the government for the 
politicians of his party who had been imprisoned; 
and the ministry found it prudent to concert 
measures with him in order to secure the tran- 
quillity of the country. This eminent position 
he had attained at the age of thirty-six. A robust 
broad-shouldered man, with short neck and round 
head, full of humour and geniality, thick eye- 
brows shading his shrewd yet kindly eyes. Like 
his celebrated English contemporary, Mr. Bright, 
there was no -indication in his external appearance 
of the masterly intellect that controls popular 
assemblies, and wields them at pleasure by the 
power of oratory. Dressed in black, with an ivory- 
headed cane in his hand like a good Presburg 
burgher, he would meet the members of his party 
on the eve of a great debate in a club smoking- 
room. After hearing all they had to say, he 
would give his opinion in a conversational tone, 
show the points on which all were agreed, and 
how the end was to be attained; indicate with 
precision the way to success, the weak point of the 
other side, what concessions could be made, and 
those points on which his friends must stand firm. 
He enlivened this common-sense exposition of 
the matter in hand with jocular comparisons and 



anecdotes, and ruled his fellow men with a sceptre 
of which the weight was not perceptible. 

At the election of 1843 Deak had the courage 
to give his supporters a lesson which they would 
not soon forget. He had been thrown out at one 
election, by means of the unscrupulous employ- 
ment of corruption and intimidation on the part 
of his adversaries. He was put up again, and his 
friends resolved to employ similar means to secure 
his return. Deak protested against this course, 
and vowed that he would not sit if returned, but 
they refused to believe him. He kept his word 
nevertheless, was elected and declined the seat, to 
the bitter chagrin of men who had spent them- 
selves in conquering success for him, and who 
could see nothing but overstrained and inflated 
virtue in this desertion of his party. Deak's 
absence from the Chamber was deeply felt, and 
generally bewailed. In 1846 he was obliged to 
travel for the benefit of his health, and the years 
that immediately followed were occupied with the 
sad events of the revolutionary outbreak, and its 
suppression. He could not agree with the ad- 
vanced opinions of Kossuth. "I am a reformer," 
he said, " not a revolutionist." Yet he would 
not oppose altogether the national party, though 
he was a firm supporter of union with Austria. 
The overthrow of 1848 and 1849 filled him 
with sadness, and drew from him the frequent 
exclamation, " It is the beginning of the end ! " 
He formed part, however, as minister of Justice, 
of the ministry of Count Louis Batthyani, and 
found the labours of office at that period of change 
in legislation very great indeed. He worked at 
the emancipation of the peasantry, the amelioration 
of the criminal law, and the adoption of trial by 
jury. His desire to accomplish reconciliation 
and union with Austria by legal means, exposed 
him in those days of revolution to the charge 
of treachery, hurled against him by the demo- 
crats. He quitted the ministry in October, 1848, 
but not the Chamber. On the 31st December 
he was appointed, by a vote of both houses, 
one of the deputation that attempted to open a 
negotiation with Windischgriitz in his camp. When 
that misguided general refused to see the delegates, 
on the plea that he could not treat with rebels, the 
dogs of war were let loose, and Deak, who had not 
wished the revolution, but, on the contrary, had 
done his best to prevent it, withdrew from public 
life. He remained in retirement full ten years, 



134 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



living chiefly at Pesth, studying the progress of 
events around, distributing a share of his modest 
income in alms, and enjoying the society of his 
friends. In December, 1860, after the Austrian 
constitution had been decreed, Deak and his friend 
Eotvos had a long private conference with the 
emperor at Vienna, which seems to have given 
him hope that the breach between his country 
and the imperial government would soon be closed. 
On reaching home he at once re-entered public 
life with his old vigour. He was elected member 
for Pesth in the Diet of 1861, and had to exert 
all his talent and influence to induce the extreme 
radical party to follow moderate counsels. He 
achieved a great parliamentary triumph on the 
13th May of that year, carrying his address to 
the emperor in the face of an adverse majority. 
This address was laid, as was well said at the 
time, on the threshold which divides Hungary 
from Austria, to be taken up by every emperor who 
goes to the "hill of coronation" to be crowned 
king of Hungary. The address was ill-received 
at Vienna, and met by an imperial rescript that 
irritated the Chamber at Pesth. The main point 
of difference was on the subject of representation — 
whether the Hungarians would, or would not, send 
their representatives to the German Eeichsrath, 
and abandon their own ancient Diet; a decided 
negative was skilfully and respectfully drawn up 
by Deak. The Diet was dissolved on the 21st 
August, but Deak felt sure of victory sooner or 
later, and went to play his favourite game of 
quilles, or skittles, much to the disgust of his 
more excitable friends. Things went on thus, 
Deak keeping his people from insurrection, until 
1865, when the emperor, aware that danger was 
thickening around him, made overtures to Deak, 
and paid a visit to Buda, where he was heartily 
received. A few months afterwards his Majesty 
in person opened the Diet in Pesth. Still the 
separate Hungarian ministry was not accorded, 
and the war of 1866 had to be borne with Hun- 
gary in a bad humour. After the peace of 
Prague, and the subsequent accession of Baron von 
Beust to the head of the ministry of Vienna, Deak's 
programme was accepted without discussion, and 
the dual form of government for the empire was 
established, practically leading to what, accord- 
ing to the Hungarians, was the only bond 
between the two countries of old, a personal union 
embodied in the sovereign. The Austrian chan- 



cellor and the Pesth deputy settled the matter 
between them. Imperfections in the scheme of 
dual government there were, which Deak felt 
equally with other men; but the agreement arrived 
at by him and Baron von Beust, in all probability, 
saved Austria from dissolution and Hungary from 
a dangerous decline. The sage of Hungary, as 
he was called, would receive no other reward for 
his services than the satisfaction of having ren- 
dered them. The emperor, the Diet, the ministry, 
pressed upon him various offers, but he declined 
them all. At the coronation of the king of 
Hungary, it is an ancient custom for the Count 
Palatine to ask the assembly present if they accept 
the sovereign elect, and then to place the crown 
upon the king's head. In 1867 there was no 
Count Palatine, the office being about to be 
abolished. A question arose as to who should 
have the honour of performing the ancient cere- 
monial. Every voice pronounced in favour of 
Deak, the creator of the new state of things, and 
the Diet by a unanimous vote appointed him to 
the honour. The patriot declined, gently at first, 
but when insistance was made, furiously; declaring 
that he would rather resign his seat in the House 
than consent to take so prominent and ostentatious 
a position. Though holding no office, Deak dic- 
tates the policy of the Hungarian government, 
whose supporters are known by the name of 
the " Deak party." His high position in the 
opinion of his countrymen does honour to the 
Hungarians, for he has neither the eloquence of 
Kossuth nor the brilliancy of Szechenyi; but he 
appeals to the reason with all the force of sound 
logic, and persuades by force of common sense. 
He offers a striking contrast to the generality 
of his countrymen, fiery and romantic as they 
are; but it is by simplicity and purity of life, 
by earnestness of purpose and thorough disin- 
terestedness, that he has so completely conquered 
their esteem and respect. 

PRUSSIA AFTER THE PEACE OF PRAGUE. 

The seal and sanction of public opinion in Ger- 
many was given to the great changes wrought by 
Prussia, by the Chambers which met in new session 
at Berlin on the 5th of August, 1866. The treaty 
of peace had not yet been ratified, and some of the 
speeches delivered in the Chambers exhibited a 
certain distrust of Austria and other powers. But 
the king and his ministers were forgiven their 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



135 



unparliamentary offences of preceding years; and 
the annexation of territory, as well as the subjec- 
tion of minor states to absolute dependence on 
Prussia, by the formation of the new League or 
Confederation of North Germany, was cordially, if 
not unanimously approved. In the king's speech 
at the opening of the Chambers, not a word was 
said about France and the important part taken 
by the French emperor in bringing the war to a 
close by his mediation. Nor was Italy even men- 
tioned. All that the king said was, that his army 
was supported "by few but faithful allies." These 
omissions naturally gave great offence both to Italy 
and France; and in France especially much irrita- 
tion was felt in consequence. 

The address of the Upper House sought to 
remedy the omission, and expressed its recognition 
of the disinterested mediation of a foreign power 
in the peace preliminaries. It declared the hopes 
of the Upper House that the separated portions of 
the monarchy would be united, and that the future 
frontier line of Prussia would form a guarantee for 
her security and her position as a great power. 
The noble " Herren," or Lords, were further of 
opinion, that after the withdrawal of Austria from 
the Germanic Confederation friendly relations would 
subsist between her and Prussia. The new organi- 
zation of Germany would be the means of pre- 
venting any future bloodshed in conflicts between 
German states. The reform of the military 
organization, too, had been put to the test, and 
had been completely justified by the brilliant 
results obtained. 

In bringing forward a bill for the incor- 
poration of Hanover, Electoral Hesse, Nassau, and 
Frankfort, with the Prussian dominions, Count 
von Bismarck said that he hoped the Chambers 
would leave the details in the hands of the king, 
who would act with the necessary consideration. 
The preamble of the bill stated, that " Prussia did 
not embark in the war with the intention of 
acquiring territory. The hostile attitude of the 
above-named states required that their indepen- 
dence should cease. It was to be hoped that, in 
course of time, the populations of the annexed 
countries would be thoroughly satisfied with the 
incorporation." But a strong feeling was mani- 
fested by the Chamber that the Prussian constitu- 
tional charter should be introduced into the new 
provinces before the expiration of a year, instead 
of being postponed indefinitely, as the bill pro- 



posed. Count von Bismarck at once assented to 
this view, and said that, without consulting his 
colleagues, he would take it upon himself, in the 
name of the government, to approve of it. A 
few days afterwards (August 28) he accepted an 
amendment, which provided that the Prussian 
constitution should become law in Hanover, Nassau, 
Hesse-Cassel, and Frankfort, on the 1st October, 
1867 ; and in the course of his speech he made 
some remarks that have a certain historical value. 

" It was just possible," he said, " that Prussia 
would be called upon to vindicate the possession 
of what she had acquired. The first Silesian war 
produced a second and a third, and there was no 
telling whether they might not have to go through 
a similar succession of campaigns in the present 
instance. He therefore wished to have the matter 
promptly settled, so as to give foreign powers 
no further opportunity for interference. To do a 
necessary thing at once was to gain a double 
advantage from it. The cabinet had difficulties 
to contend with in various quarters, and might 
well expect the House to second its action, con- 
sidering what the circumstances of the times were. 
The right of Prussia to annex the states men- 
tioned was a more sacred right than that of con- 
quest. It was from the right of Germany to live, 
breathe, and exist, that Prussia derived her com- 
mission to incorporate with her own body politic 
such disjecta membra of the nation as had been 
won in honest warfare. The interval between 
now and the extension of the Prussian constitu- 
tion to the new provinces he would employ to 
proclaim the laws of military service in them, and 
establish the right of all subjects of the crown 
to reside and carry on trade in any part of the 
united kingdom. He had no doubt that, before 
loner, all classes in the states annexed would unite 
in acknowledging the wisdom of this proceeding. 
This was a transition period ; but its attendant 
difficulties could be easily overcome by the adop- 
tion of the proper means. He was not surprised 
to find that, when people in the minor states had 
so long enjoyed an existence undisturbed by great 
political cares, there should be some among them 
averse to the duties of a more responsible position. 
But the great majority took a more extended view 
even now, and the rest would come round soon 
enough. In point of fact, the only choice they 
had was to become the citizens of a great German 
state, or to be at the mercy of foreign powers." 



136 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



At a later period, a bill of indemnity to save 
the government from the consequences of having 
acted in violation of the law in preceding years, 
by collecting taxes which had not been voted 
by the Chambers, was passed by a large majority. 
The minister of the Interior stated, that by the 
adoption of the bill the government would be 
morally compelled to act in a friendly spirit 
towards the House. The indemnity was not an 
armistice with the government; its adoption would 
be the preliminaries of a real and lasting peace. 
This anxious desire on the part of a so-called 
despotic king and minister, for the sanction of 
their high-handed dealings by a law to be voted 
by Parliament, is very significant of the force of 
public opinion in Germany, and contains excellent 
promise for the future development of well-ordered 
freedom in that newly united country. 

The king's reply to the address of the Lower 
House contained a sort of apology for the annex- 
ation of neighbouring territories: — " I thank you, 
gentlemen," he said, " for communicating to me 
the feelings of your illustrious body. To God alone 
be all honour. On setting out for the seat of war, 
I certainly hoped that we should be able to hold 
our own, as we always have. But I did not 
expect the rapid victories we achieved, and am 
doubly grateful to my gallant army for accomp- 
lishing them. Since the war I have been obliged 
to dispossess certain sovereigns, and annex their 
territories. I was born the son of a king, and 
taught to respect hereditary rights. If, in the 
present instance, I have nevertheless- profited by 
the fortune of war to extend my territory at the 
cost of other sovereigns, you will appreciate the 
imperative necessity of the step. We cannot 
permit hostile armies to be raised in our rear, or 
in localities intervening between our provinces. 
To preclude the recurrence of such an event was 
a duty imposed upon me by the law of self-preser- 
vation. I have acted for the good of the country, 
and I beg you to convey my sentiments to the 
House." 

To a deprecatory address from a Hanoverian 
deputation his Majesty used similar language, to 
the effect that annexation had become a duty 
on account of geographical position, and that 
the rapid victories which led to it were a visible 
interposition of Providence. Indeed, the national 
appetite for conquest was clearly not yet satisfied. 
In the debate on the bill for determining the mode 



of election to the new German Parliament (Sep- 
tember 12), Count von Bismarck had to delend 
the government against a charge of not having 
profited sufficiently by the late victories. Again, 
in December he made a long and instructive 
speech in the Lower House on the question of 
the union of the duchies of Schlcswig and Holstein 
with Prussia. It will be remembered that French 
influence was exerted to secure the cession of the 
northern part of Schleswig to Denmark, if, on 
an appeal to the inhabitants, they determined by 
a plebiscite in favour of such a re-annexation. 
The passages of the president's speech which 
relate to the attitude of France, and seem to 
excuse the deference shown to her in the negoti- 
ations at Prague, have no unimportant bearing on 
the present history. " Foreign nations,'' said the 
minister, " were accustomed to look upon us as 
abandoned to the tender mercies of France, and to 
make the permanent necessity of help, under which 
they fancied we were, their reason for speculating 
upon our indulgence and modesty. By Austria 
and a portion of our German allies, this speculation 
had been carried very far during the last ten 
years. But were they at all right in their fancies? 
War with France is not in the interests of this 
country. We have little to gain even by beating 
her. The Emperor Napoleon himself, differing 
in this from the accepted politics of other French 
dynasties, wisely recognized the fact that peace 
and mutual confidence should prevail between the 
two neighbouring nations. But to maintain such 
relations with France, a strong and independent 
Prussia is alone competent. If this truth is not 
admitted by all subjects of Napoleon III., it is 
a consolation to know that his cabinet, at least, 
thinks differently, and that we officially, at any 
rate, have to deal with his cabinet only. Looking 
upon this vast country of Germany from the 
French point of view, his cabinet cannot but tell 
themselves that, to combine it again with Austria 
into one political whole, and make it a realm of 
75,000,000 inhabitants, would be contrary to the 
French interests. Even if France could make the 
Ehine her boundary, she would be no match for 
so formidable a power, were it ever established 
beside her. To France it is an advantage that 
Austria does not participate any longer in our 
common Germanic institutions, and that a state 
whose interests conflict with her own in Italv and 
in the East, cannot henceforth constitutionally 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



137 



rely upon our armed assistance in war. It is 
natural for France to prefer a neighbour of less 
overwhelming might — a neighbour, in fact, whom 
35,000,000 or 38,000,000 of French are quite 
strong enough to ward off from their boundary 
line in defensive war. If France justly appreciates 
her interests, she will as little allow the power of 
Prussia as that of Austria to be swept away. The 
present dynasty of France having identified itself 
with the principle of nationality, always looked 
upon the question of the duchies in a temperate 
way, and from the very outset was less adverse to 
our claims than any of the other powers. 

" You are aware that to carry that principle 
through on the Dano-German frontier is simply 
impossible. Germans and Danes so intermingle 
there, that no line of demarcation can be drawn 
which will separate all members of the one race 
from those of the other. Yet France, wishing to 
see her adopted principle acknowledged in this 
particular instance, as in so many preceding ones, 
mooted the question, repeatedly bringing on a 
discussion between us, Denmark, and other powers. 
In all our communications with the powers, we 
never concealed it from them, that we would not 
allow our line of defence to be impaired by any 
territorial re-arrangement of the kind ; but we also 
intimated that, under certain circumstances, we 
might be inclined to pay some regard to wishes 
assiduously uttered by the population, and un- 
doubtedly ascertained by us. Thus the matter 
stood when, in July last, France was enabled, by 
the general situation of Europe, to urge her views 
more forcibly than before. I need not depict the 
situation of this country at the time I am speaking 
of. You all know what I mean. Nobody could 
expect us to carry on two wars at. the same time. 
Peace with Austria had not yet been concluded; 
were, we to imperil the fruits of our glorious 
campaign by plunging headlong into hostilities 
with a new, a second enemy ? France, then, being 
called on by Austria to mediate between the con- 
tending parties, as a matter of course did not omit 
to urge some wishes of her own upon us. We 
had to determine, not whether we thought the 
terms offered compatible with the expressed desires 
of the Schleswig-Holsteiners, but whether we 
were to accept or to reject in a body the overtures 
of Austria, as imparted through France. Long 
negotiations were impracticable under the circum- 
stances. Our communications were interrupted, 



telegrams requiring three, or even six days to 
travel from our headquarters to Berlin. In this 
condition his Majesty determined to adopt the 
programme submitted to his decision. It is true 
we were strongly backed by Italy remaining true 
to her engagements, and standing by us with a 
fidelity which I cannot too highly appreciate and 
extol. The Italian government resisted the temp- 
tation thrown in its way by a present from Austria, 
of renouncing its alliance with us, and suspending 
military operations against the common enemy. 
This is a fact which I hope guarantees the con- 
tinuance of friendly relations between Italy and 
Germany. But, notwithstanding the valuable aid 
rendered us by our Italian allies, both on the battle- 
field and in our diplomatic negotiations with 
friend and foe, we did not think ourselves jus- 
tified in proceeding to extremities, and involving 
all Europe in war, merely because a single item 
of the'terms proffered was unpalatable. Had we 
insisted upon having every thing our own way, 
the most serious complications might have arisen. 
I thought it my duty to advise his Majesty to 
sanction the terms submitted as they stood, rather 
than jeopardize our previous success and gamble 
for more." 

In the result, the House resolved to postpone 
the question of the cession of Northern Schleswig 
to a later period. It has been stated quite recently 
by an Austrian in authority, that the Vienna 
cabinet committed an error in accepting French 
mediation so hastily. The Prussian minister had 
made proposals for a direct negotiation, in which 
no mention of any indemnity was made; and 
Austria would have been spared a fine of thirty 
million florins if she had only declined to avail 
herself of the assistance of France. 

The failure to carry out the stipulations of the 
treaty of Prague relating to North Schleswig, has 
no doubt drawn much obloquy upon the govern- 
ment of King William. Germans in high station 
have openly disapproved, and some publicists have 
placed it side by side with the French occupa- 
tion of Eome as an act politically immoral. The 
continued occupation, says one writer, of North 
Schleswig, which is Danish, by Prussia, not as 
resulting from a compliance with, but in defiance 
of, the provisions of the fifth article of the treaty 
of Prague in 1866, is not only a wrong done to 
Denmark, but it does violence to that European 
public opinion which Prussia, like France, is so 
s 



1S8 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



anxious to conciliate. And not merely is this 
continued occupation a wrong, but it is a wrong 
of which the treatment and persecution of the 
Danish inhabitants by Prussia has largely increased 
the magnitude and intensity. Persecutions are 
spoken of, and the expulsion of clergymen and 
others, either actual or virtual, as the result of 
arbitrary and oppressive measures, in the teeth 
of the provisions of most solemn treaties. It 
is to be hoped that the conclusion of war will 
witness the payment by Count von Bismarck .of a 
debt of strict though tardy justice to Denmark, at 
the instance of Germans themselves, who are not 
found wanting as individuals in a sense of justice 
or in genuine kindness both of heart and senti- 
ment. There can be no reason why the relations 
between Prussia and Denmark should not be 
friendly for the future. If, as matter of fact, 
Germans have, by peaceful emigration, superseded 
in certain parts of Schleswig the earlier Danish 
population; and Germany, having taken possession 
of those parts by conquest, is now desirous of 
retaining them — that surely is no reason why, in 
defiance of recent treaty obligations, those parts of 
Schleswig in which the Danish element is all but 
unmixed, or at all events, very largely preponder- 
ant, should be incorporated with Germany, although 
the inhabitants most earnestly desire, and have a 
treaty right, to return to their old allegiance. 

That appetite for annexation, which has hitherto 
distinguished Prussia, will not, it may be well 
hoped, characterize the policy of a strong united 
Germany. Germany has won success enough in 
the field, not merely to immortalize the prowess 
of her sons and Von Moltke's matchless organizing 
skill and strategy, but to protect her from all risk 
through future aggression. It is contrary to her 
interest to inspire in other nations, by territorial 
cupidity in Denmark or elsewhere, distrust and 
suspicion which might lead to a European coali- 
tion against her. The prospect for Europe would 
then be a dark one. To protect the independent 
and unmutilated existence of a certain number of 
small states, and to prevent their absorption in 
the military monarchies, is to maintain the best of 
guarantees for peace and liberty in Europe. It is 
this consideration which would seem to have actu- 
ated England and the English government in their 
efforts to maintain inviolate the neutrality and 
independence of Belgium. Prussia is strong 
enough to be just in the case of North Schleswig, 



without fear of consequences. She is victorious, 
and she is rich enough to be generous. She 
might now find in North Schleswig and Germany 
— perhaps may find elsewhere — a fit opportunity 
for giving to the world an example of those qualities 
of moderation and magnanimity which form the 
brightest jewels in the victor's crown. The heart 
which great successes leave untouched is cold 
indeed. But such is not the heart of Germany. 

The really difficult part of the question so 
warmly argued is, doubtless, as it was in the 
case of Hanover, a geographical one. It must 
be well nigh impossible to draw a distinct line of 
demarcation between two races that intermingle, 
and having drawn it, to preserve it. The suspicion 
that Germany, under the guidance of Prussia, may 
become an aggressive military nation has almost 
no foundation. Her power rests upon a military 
system so onerous to a studious and a commercial 
people, that it cannot be imposed upon millions 
of men like the. Germans, save for the most 
sacred of causes — the spirit-stirring cause of their 
native country in danger. The vast Teutonic 
population of Central Europe has been possessed 
with a dominant idea of unity, that has rapidly 
increased in intensity in recent years. Germany, 
one and indivisible, homogeneous, united in policy 
and in principle, is the thought which inspires 
the bosom of every ardent German patriot. The 
realization of this thought involves sacrifice on 
the part of princes and people. The victory of 
an idea means the extinction of existing rights. 
All claims and appeals are silenced before it. 
The old order perishes to give place to the new. 
The unity of Germany is inevitable, even though 
France, the only possible opponent of the unifica- 
tion, should declare herself hostile to it. If France 
declare war against Germany, wrote a French 
writer in 1869, she will act for the advantage of 
militarism and Prussia ; if she prove friendly to 
German unity, she will act for the advantage of 
European freedom. 

DEVELOPMENT OF THE GERMAN FEELL\G FOR UNITY. 

The origin of the enthusiasm that possesses the 
German race for the unity of their Fatherland, must 
be sought in past history. The people of Germany 
have had to undergo a harsh training in the school 
of adversity, before the need and advantage of 
having but one common interest have been fully 
realised. The teachings of this school were, un- 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



139 



happily for Germany, barren of results for nearly 
four hundred years. From the time of Kaiser 
Maximilian, the " white king," through the reigns 
of Charles V. and of the later emperors and 
empresses antagonists of Louis XIV., XV., and 
of Frederick, called the Great, down to the era 
of the French Revolution and the conquests of 
Napoleon I., Germany was, politically speaking, a 
sea of trouble, chiefly for want of political cohesion. 
Not till the beginning of the present century, 
when, perhaps, the cruelest lesson was given to 
the Germans, did they begin taking the precepts 
of calamity to heart, and endeavour to find some 
good in evil. The sad condition to which their 
country had been brought by disunion, at length 
startled them from their apathy. Then was born 
that passionate patriotism, of which the embers 
now burn with a brightness and steadfastness un- 
equalled in any other nation. 

The utter subjection to which Germany had been 
brought while the first Napoleon's star was at its 
zenith, was the immediate cause that kindled this 
glowing virtue. Nothing less than a national 
enthusiasm had the power to join discordant 
elements, and inspire men with that singleness of 
purpose necessary to break the chains that fettered 
a great people. The patriot Arndt thus described the 
manner in which he was affected by the sad conse- 
quences of disunion, " When after vain struggles 
Austria and Prussia both were fallen ; then first 
my soul began to love them and Germany with 
real love, and to hate the French with a true 
and righteous rage. Just when Germany had 
perished by its disunion, my heart embraced the 
full notion of its oneness and its unity." This 
was spoken immediately after the heavy blows 
inflicted on his country by the battles of Auster- 
litz and Jena ; when similar thoughts and feel- 
ings began to agitate the hearts of the whole 
German-speaking folk. Compelled at last by the 
disastrous plight in which their country lay, to 
sink their political differences and act in unison, 
the Germans succeeded in removing the ban of 
servitude under which they had so severely suf- 
fered. Thinking men, too, looked beyond the 
simple rescue of their land from the tyranny of a 
foreign yoke in 181 3. They looked into the future, 
and saw Germany occupying the place among the 
powers of Europe she was entitled to, secured by 
her strength and concord against interruption from 
other nations in working out internal reform. 



Voices were not wanting to express in ever living 
words the feelings that then swayed the German 
race. Nor were the writers of that period singers 
and preachers only. They were the great movers 
in the regeneration of Germany ; by books and 
deeds they aroused and fanned the patriotic spirit of 
their countrymen to enthusiasm. Where statesmen 
had failed, poets met with success, and created 
a monument of their labours in the literature of 
patriotism — the most precious record of that time 
of Germany's struggle for freedom. Here may be 
read how the longing ol Germans for unity was 
engraven in their hearts, and acquired the sanctity 
of a religion. That, in spite of all opposition made 
by the jealousy of statecraft, in spite of the long 
frustration of their hopes, this desire is still so 
active, may be easily understood, when the influ- 
ence of popular poetry is understood. " Give me 
the making of a nation's ballads, and I care not who 
makes its laws," said Fletcher of Saltoun, whom 
this sentence has perhaps made more memorable 
than any other act or speech of his. The history 
of the patriotic feeling that has pervaded Germany 
during the last fifty years, is an argument for 
the justice of the aphorism. 

The literature of Germany is peculiarly rich in 
its store of patriotic songs, forming a reflex of 
events that have happened from the earliest times. 
So early as the first century, the Roman historian 
Tacitus considered the war songs of the Germans 
worthy of mention, from the influence they exer- 
cised on their spirits in battle. There are very few 
salient features in German history which will not be 
found registered in popular ballads. Whenever the 
people have been strongly moved by disaster or 
triumph, their feelings have sought expression in 
this shape. During the War of Independence in 
1813 this was particularly the case, and from that 
period till the present day numerous song-writers 
have appeared, whose productions have acquired a 
popularity that has been owing as much to the fact 
of their having given a channel for the thoughts 
of the Germans, as to the intrinsic merit of the 
songs themselves. 

Among the most distinguished of modern 
patriotic writers of Germany who stirred their 
countrymen from base submission, and moved 
them to throw ofF the yoke of the stranger, 
was Karl Theodor Koerner. Although the 
youngest of the band, his influence was not the 
least. Perhaps his years and standing lent power 



140 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



to the effect of his poetical talents. He shines 
out as the representative youth of the time of 
the war of liberation, and especially of the student 
class, which has always formed an important 
element in German society. The manner in 
which death took him, as he was fighting his 
country's foes, gave additional lustre to his 
writings. He had lived but twenty-two years, 
when Germany put forth her greatest efforts, and, 
in that short life he had experience enough of the 
miseries entailed on her by the mischievous policy 
of the ruling states. What impression these 
lamentable circumstances made on him, and what 
influence they had on his genius, can be read in 
his works. In 1813 he joined the Prussian army 
as a volunteer. 

The regiment in which Koerner enrolled himself 
began the campaign with a kind of consecration 
service, when a hymn of his composition was sung. 
It was while he was performing soldier's duty, at 
the watch fire, on the march, in the battle even, 
that most of his battle songs were written, and 
they were repeated by thousands and tens of 
thousands as they joyously marched to the places 
of rendezvous. In the very heart of conflict he 
bursts out with the following prayer: — 

" Father, on Thee I call ! 
Heavy around me the cannon smoke lies ; 
Like spray is the flash of the guns in my eyes. 

Ruler of battles, I call on Thee I 

Father, oh lead me ! 

Father, oh lead Thou me ! 
Lead me as victor, by death when I'm riven. 
Lord, I acknowledge the law Thon hast given, 

E'en as thou wilt, Lord, so lead Thou me! 

God, I acknowledge Thee. 

God, I acknowledge Thee ! 
So when the autumn leaves rustle around me, 
So when the thunders of battle surround me, 

Fountain of grace, I acknowledge Thee ! 

Father, oh bless Thon me ! 

Father, oh bless Thou me ! 
Into Thy care I commend my spirit ; 
Thou canst reclaim what from Thee I inherit, 

Living or dying, still bless Thou me ! 

Father, I worship Thee ! 

Father, I worship Thee! 
Not for earth's riches Thy servants are fighting, 
Holiest cause with our swords we are righting ; 

Conq'ring or falling, I worship Thee. 

God, I submit to Thee. 

God, I submit to Thee ! 
When all the terrors of death are assailing, 
When in the veins e'en the life-blood is failing. 

Lord, nnto Thee will I bow the knee. 

Father, I cry to Thee ! " 

The same spirit of religious fervour breathes in 



all his songs. With Koerner it was no war of 
kings to which he had devoted himself — 

" It is no war of which but kings are 'ware — 
'Tis a crusade, a people's holy war." 

He calls to his companions, you are " fighting 
for your sanctuary." That old world virtue of 
patriotism cannot be said to be lost to us of this 
later time ; nor while Koerner's words live in his 
countrymen's hearts will it ever die. 

" One lasting German virtue have we still, 
That breaks all fetters with its mighty wilL 

Let Hell belch out its threats, its power 
Reaches not hitherto. It no star can lowei 
From Heav'n, where our star is steadfast set ; 
And tho' the night o'ershadow for an hour 
Our virtue's joyance, yet our will lives yet!" 

So inspired, the German soldier could meet death 
joyfully, with " Vaterland " upon his lips. 

There were other and older men to fan the flame 
of patriotism, and to prevent disaster and defeat 
quenching its brightness; who, if more moderate 
than young poetical students like Koerner, were yet 
better able to guide this ardour into some practical 
path. Professors not only shared and fostered, 
but also directed, their pupils' zeal. In the history 
of this outburst of enthusiasm the name of Jahn, 
to which Germany delighted to add the epithet 
" father," must not be passed over in silence. 
Though not with songs, he gave much help to 
the great cause. From his professor's chair he 
taught that great love of all that was German, 
which is yet extant in a later generation. That 
he might give greater force to his teachings, 
and show by his example that words were worth- 
less if unaccompanied by actions, he served his 
country as a soldier, nor did he lay down his 
arms till its foes were conquered. Such was the 
character of the leading spirits of Germany in the 
movement that brought about the decisive battle 
of Leipzig. Others, too, there were, whose names 
have become a household possession in Germany, 
as Arndt and Uhland, who set to music the aspira- 
tions of their countryman. The time, as Koerner 
said, demanded great hearts ; and hearts were there 
to answer. 

Arndt was one of the first to perceive the signi- 
ficance of the events of his time, and to recognize 
the forces that under skilful leadership would bring 
the German people into a haven of safety. With 
this conviction, he put out all his energies to 
procure for his fatherland more than present sal- 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



141 



vation; and resolutely taking his stand, worked for 
trie present, while he looked to the consequences 
of his labours in the future. To him belongs 
the honour of the authorship of that most famous 
song, " What is the German Fatherland?" a 
composition which alone would have made his 
name memorable, from the great part it played in 
the German War of Independence. This song has 
become the national anthem of Germany, the text- 
book of patriotism and of the aspirations of the 
German race for unity. For the impression it made 
and the popularity it acquired at the time of its. 
production, it can only be compared to the "Mar- 
seillaise," or that old ballad of " Lillibullero," 
which, its author boasted, had sung king James II. 
out of three kingdoms ; but it has surpassed every 
other national song, by the hold it has ever since 
retained on the minds of the Germans. This 
inspiration of Arndt's, which deserves to be as 
well known as that of Rouget de Lisle, is quoted 
as a fact in the history of his country, as worthy 
to be noticed as any broken treaty or ponderous 
protocol. 

" What is the German Fatherland ? 
Is't Prussian land or Snabian land ? 
Where grapes grow thick on Rhine's rich trees? 
Where sea-mews skim the Baltic seas? 

Oh! no! for thee 

The Fatherland must greater be. 

What is the German Fatherland? 
Bavarian or Styrian land ? 
Where kine on Holstein's marshes graze? 
Where toiling miners iron raise? 

Oh ! no ! for thee 

The Fatherland must greater be. 

What is the German Fatherland ? 
Westphalian, Pomeranian land ? 
Where sand from northern headland blows ? 
Where Danube's mighty water flows? 

Oh ! no ! for thee 

The Fatherland must greater be. 

What is the German Fatherland ? 
Oh ! name to me that glorious land ! 
Can Austria, proud, the title claim, 
So rich in victory and in fame ? 

Oh ! no ! for thee 

The Fatherland must greater be. 

What is the German Fatherland? 
Tell me, at last, that mighty land ! 
Wide as is heard the German tongue, 
And songs to God in heaven are sung — 

That shall it be ; 

That, valiant German, shall it be. 

That is the German Fatherland, 
Where close will be the clasp of hand, 
Where truth will from the bright eyes start, 
And love live warm within the heart. 

That shall it be ; 

That, valiant German, shall it be. 



One whole great nation shall it be. 
God in heaven, we look to Thee ; 
Give us the courage, strength, and will, 
To keep it safe from woe and ilk 

That shall it be ; 

One whole great nation shall it be." 

In 1813, the year of Germany's deliverance from 
Napoleon, the subject of the most popular song 
was the Ehine, which has always been associated 
with the German's patriotic utterances. When, in 
driving Napoleon back into France, the German 
soldiers saw the Rhine for the first time, they are 
said to have broken out into uncontrollable joy. 
Tears trickled down many cheeks, and the enthusi- 
asm passing from rank to rank, soon a hundred 
thousand voices joined in one " hurrah !" At this 
time the Germans began to cast their eyes on the 
country that lay beyond the Rhine, as the follow- 
ing lines added to the song above referred to will 
show : — 

"The Rhine shall no longer he our boundary; 
It is the great artery of the state, 
And it shall flow through the heart of our empire." 

On this favourite subject the song of Niklas Becker, 

"Ono! they ne'er shall have it, 
The free and German Rhine," 

long possessed the greatest popularity. It is said 
to have been set to music by no less than seventy 
different composers, and owed its inspiration to 
the preparations and menaces of Thiers in 1840. 
Arndt sent Becker a congratulation on his suc- 
cessful composition: — 

" At once, from north to south, 
Its echo clear and strong, 
Became in every German's mouth 
The nation's charter song." 

Becker's song subsequently yielded in popularity 
to one by a man but little known, named Max 
Schneckinger. This is the famous " Rhine 
Watch," which has become the lyrical watch-word 
of the Germans in the present war. The musical 
setting of the " Rhine Watch " is far superior to 
any of the seventy to which Becker's song is sung, 
and is one of the causes of the great hold it has 
on the Germans. The words of the song, as far 
as is possible in another tongue, shall speak for 
themselves. 

WHO'LL GUARD THE RHINE? 

A cry ascends die thunder crash, 

Like ocean's roar, like sabre clash : 

" Who'll guard the Rhine, the German Rhine, 

To whom shall we the task assign?" 
Dear Fatherland, no fear be thine, 
Firm stand thy sons to guard the Rhine. 



142 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



From mouth to mouth the word goes round, 
With gleaming eyes we greet the sound ; 
And old and young we join the hand 
That flies to guard the sacred strand. 
Dear Fatherland, &c. 

And tho' grim death should lay me low, 
No prey wouldst thou be to the foe j 
For rich, as thy resistless flood, 
Is Germany in heroes' blood. 
Dear Fatherland, &c 

To Heav'n we solemnly appeal, 
And swear — inflamed by warlike zeal: 
"Thou Rhine, for all their flippant jests, 
Shalt still be German, as our breasts, 
Dear Fatherland, &c. 

" While there's a drop of blood to run, 
While there's an arm to bear a gun, 
While there's a hand to wield a sword. 
No foe shall dare thy stream to ford." 
Dear Fatherland, &c. 

The oath is sworn — the masses surge, 
The flags wave proudly — on we urge ; 
And all with heart and soul combine 
To guard the Rhine, our German Rhine. 
Dear Fatherland, &c. 

A song by Ruckert, published in 1865, the year 
belbre the battle of Sadowa, will show what devel- 
opment the love of Fatherland reached, in the shape 
of the idea of unity. The events that happened 
in the year following its appearance were, how- 
ever, a practical contradiction to the spirit of 
Ruckert's composition, which seems to assign to 
Austria the leading position in the approaching 
effort to attain national unification : — 



"Against the foe went marching 
Three comrades staunch and good, 
Who side by side together 
In many a fight had stood. 

The first a sturdy Austrian, 
The next a Prussian brave, 
And each one praised his country 
As the best a man could have. 

And where was born the other ? 
No Austrian was he, 
Nor yet of Prussian rearing, 
But a son of Germany." 

Then as the three were fighting together they 
were all struck down by the enemy's bullets. 
The first, in falling, raises a cheer for Austria. 

" ' Hurrah ! for Prussia,' cried the nest, 
His iifeblood ebbing fast ; 
Undaunted by his mortal wound. 
What cry escaped the last? 

He cried ' Hurrah for Germany ! ' 
His comrades heard the sound 
As right and left beside him 
They sank upon the ground. 



And as they sank, they nearer came 
And close together pressed, 
At right of him and left of him, 
As brothers, breast to breast 

And once more cried the centre one 
' Hurrah for Germany ! ' 
The others echoed back the cry, 
And louder still than he." 



The love of their land and of freedom, which 
their poets have raised to the height of a passion, 
has begotten the all-pervading longing for unity 
that now possesses the Germans. The disunion, 
that had rendered humiliation so easy, and that 
no enemy hitherto had entirely effaced, was a 
giant which taxed all the strength that enthusiasm 
gave. Difficulty after difficulty had to be en- 
countered and conquered ; now by the slow and 
doubtful ways of policy, now even by bloodshed of 
kindred peoples. Those who first worked for this 
object died without seeing the accomplishment of 
their desires, and almost despairing of the possibility 
of an undivided empire. Now perhaps the end is 
not far off, and the shores of the promised land can 
be descried without straining of eyes. Aspirations of 
patriots were despised and looked on with suspicion, 
if no worse befell. Statesman could understand or 
recognize no form of thought, that did not emanate 
from themselves. Arndt, who for his services 
had in 1818 been appointed professor of history 
at Bonn, fell under the displeasure of the Prussian 
government, because he continued to display the 
same zeal for Germany's welfare, in peaceful times, 
as that which had effected so much towards her 
deliverance from the yoke of Napoleon. He had 
not filled his professor's chair for more than 
two years, when he was suspected of harbouring 
designs and thoughts that savoured of republic- 
anism. His papers were seized, and charges 
brought against him of favouring the formation 
of secret societies and associations ; of mislead- 
ing the youth, over whom his influence was so 
great; of dreaming of a rebuilding of the state on 
republican plans, and reforming the Fatherland. 
The right and justice of a trial were not ac- 
corded to him ; he was removed from his post, and 
lay under the ban of accusation for more than 
two and twenty years, when, to the unbounded 
joy of Germany, he was reinstated by the late 
king of Prussia. In his " Recollections," which 
he wrote when he was past seventy years of age, 
he discusses, at length, the offences of which he 
was accused. "I have, indeed," says he, "preached 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



143 



a dangerous unity of the German people. I am, 
however, but a miserable late growth, a poor 
after-preacher, when I recall the many renowned 
preachers that have spoken before me from quite 
other hearts and minds. I mean, this sermon is as 
old as the history of our people." He almost thinks 
it necessary to write his apology for the vehemence 
with which he had pursued his idea of an united 
Germany ; and he reiterates in detail the position 
of his country in Europe, and her many assailable 
points, for which there was no other defence or 
protection than the concerted action that a perfect 
union alone made possible. To his patriarchal 
years, however, was granted, at last, a glimpse of 
the goal for which he had so long and so hope- 
lessly yearned and striven. 

The conservative spirit of the policy of the 
ruling states of Germany has always been a great 
impediment in the way of plans prompted by the 
popular enthusiasm. In vain might a patriot like 
Uhland raise his voice in the cause of liberty. He 
was met everywhere by an overwhelming opposi- 
tion, against which public opinion was powerless. 
Whether he combated laws to restrain the freedom 
of the press, or laws against "public associations," 
which had been referred to the Diet, the antagonism 
of the leaders of Germany bore down the weight of 
his objections. On every possible occasion patrio- 
tism met with rebuffs, since it had gravitated to 
the liberal section in politics, of which it seemed 
at last to become almost the peculiar possession. 
Uhland, in a speech made at the Diet in October, 
1848, laid bare the stumbling-block that obstructed 
the agreement of the German people and their 
rulers. The subject of the debate was the proposi- 
tion to exclude Austria, the favourite candidate for 
the imperial sceptre, from the Germanic Confedera- 



tion ; and to make the leadership hereditary with 
Prussia. Uhland took the popular side, and 
declared himself in favour of a periodical election 
of the empire's chief, by a national assembly of 
the German people. "No head," said he, "can 
give light to Germany, that is not anointed with 
a full drop of democratic oil." It was this drop 
of democratic oil in which the great difficulty 
lay. All the plans made for Germany's regen- 
eration, that had the sympathy of liberal opinion, 
were discouraged and frustrated by Prussia and 
other states. Unity, in the eyes of the men who 
held the helm of government, appeared to be shorn 
of its advantages, if it could not be compassed 
without the alloy of democracy and the admission 
of the element of personal freedom. While popular 
enthusiasm contented itself with singing national 
and patriotic airs, it was borne with ; or if it moved 
men to subscribe towards the purchase of ships 
to protect the commerce of the Fatherland, under 
the fostering care of Prussia, the vessels were 
bought, and the charge accepted. 

However wise or unwise the method of the 
German governments has been, it has certainly 
made the idea of the unity of the German race a 
tangible fact to the present generation, which 
owes no small share of gratitude and praise to those 
men who were the first to conceive the idea in all its 
force, and who in fighting against foreign oppres- 
sion were conscious of the great interests at stake, 
beyond their own present deliverance. In the 
words of a biographer of the poet Koerner, they 
could see that " the further fruit of the struggle 
would ripen, gradually only, yet surely, in ever- 
developing freedom ; and that no power on earth 
would be able to hinder or limit its grand con- 
summation." 



CHAPTER VI. 

Effect of the Prussian triumphs on the rest of Europe— Proposed division of Germany into a Northern and a Southern Confederation forced upon 

Prussia by France Failure of the Plan owing to the Mutual Jealousies of the Southern States and the separate Treaties of each with 

Prussia — Danger to the Southern States from the Demands of France — Saving Clause in the Treaty on " National Ties " — Parties in 
Germany that looked to France— Saxony profited by French Interference, and paid a smaller Fine than other States — Meeting of Southern 
Powers at Nordlingeu, in 1868 — Dispute over the Federal Fortresses — Rejection of Bavaria's claim to precedence — Project of a Southern 
Confederation abortive — Austria's patient determination not to re-open the quarrel — The local limitation of Modern Wars due to Commerce, 
Education, and Public Opinion— Peculiar Situation of the Great Powers affecting International Policy — Warlike Attitude of France alone — 
Her Demands for a Rectification of Frontier in Compensation for the Aggrandizement of Germany — Incapacity of the French Emperor to 
resist the Spirit of Nationality — Bearing of the Changes in Germany on the smaller Neutral States — Switzerland a Conservative Republic 
— A Refuge and a School for the Democrats of Europe — Its Neutrality to be observed strictly by neighbouring Nations — Luxemburg gives 
rise to a Controversy that threatens War— Anecdote of Count von Bismarck — History of the " Luxemburg Question " — Transfer of the Duchy 
to Belgium — Eastern portion restored to Germany and the House of Orange — Fortress occupied by a Federal Garrison of Prussians — 
Neutrality in 1866 — Proposal of the King of Holland, Duke of Lnxemburg, to sell the Duchy to the Emperor Napoleon — The Proposal 
entertained, but the Consent of Prussia withheld — War between France and Prussia imminent — Conference proposed by King of Holland — 
Assembled in London — Guarantee by the Powers of the Neutrality of the Duchy — Fortifications demolished — Roumania — Election of 
Charles of Hohenzollern Sigmaringen to be Reigning Prince — Attitude of Russia and Turkey — Internal State of Russia after Emancipation 
of the Serfs — Attempt on the Czar's Life — Reorganization of the Russian Army — Explosive Bullet Treaty signed at St. Petersburg — 
Erroneous Policy of Russia towards her German Subjects — In England Domestic Affairs divert Attention from Germany — Reform Bill — 
Change of Ministry — Another Reform Bill — Commercial Panic — Fenians — Foreign Policy of Great Britain — Alabama Claims — Abyssinian 
War — King Theodore — General Napier — The Nations of Latin Race in Europe and their Attitude to Germany — Italy — Spain — Unpopu- 
larity of Queen Isabella — Successive Ministries — Death of Narvaez — Appointment of Bravo — His Arbitrary Conduct — Banishment of the 
Generals and the Duke and Duchess Montpensier — Insurrection — Admiral Topete and the Fleet — Marshal Serrano — General Prim — Flight 
of Queen Isabella into France — Provisional Government — The Principle of Monarchy adopted — No Monarch to be obtained — Serrano made 
Regent — Prim, Prime Minister — Duke of Genoa invited to be King; declines — Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern accepts the offer — To avert 
a War he afterwards withdraws — Prince Amadens, Second Sou of Victor Emmanuel, proclaimed King of Spain — Marshal Prim assassinated 
on the day before the new King's Landing — Sketch of Prim's Career — The thread of French History resumed with the year 1860 — 
Expedition to China — Syria — Mexico — Withdrawal from the latter of the English and Spanish Contingents— Arrival of General Forey — 
Capture of Puebla and Mexico — Offer of the Crown to Archduke Maximilian — His Acceptance on Promise of French Support — Unpopu- 
larity of the Expedition in France — Menacing Attitude of the United States' Government — Withdrawal of French Troops — Desperate 
Situation of Maximilian — Journey of Empress Charlotte to Europe — Failure of her Mission — Capture of Maximilian by the Juarists — His 
Sentence and Execution— Outcry against Napoleon III. — French Policy in Italy — Insurrection in Poland — Probability of French Interven- 
tion on behalf of the Poles — Nothing done — Prestige of the Empire rapidly declining — Efforts made by the Emperor to restore Prestige 
and establish his Dynasty— Concession of Parliamentary Government and Responsibility of Ministers — Appointment of M. Ollivier — 
General Jubilation checked by the Emperor's recourse to the Plebiscitum — Servility of the Ministry — M. Thiers' Expression of the 
National Jealousy of Germany — Secret Manufacture of the New Weapon, the Mitrailleuse — Confidence of the Emperor in its Formidable 
Powers, and in his Complete Readiness for War — Germany, the only possible Antagonist, apparently unprepared and engaged in the 
Pursuits of Learning or the Peaceful Avocations of Commerce and Agriculture. 



It is necessary now to show the effects produced 
by the Prussian triumphs of 1866 upon other 
countries of Europe. It has been stated that 
Austria, when expelled from Germany by the treaty 
of Prague, stipulated that the country should be 
divided into two confederacies, a northern and a 
southern. It was, in fact, France that made this 
stipulation, Austria being then too thoroughly 
humbled to prescribe terms, or do more than appeal 
for help to France, who gave the solicited aid. 
Prussia, not wishing to provoke a second war 
before the first was at an end, accepted the con- 
ditions forced upon her ; and bisection instead of 



The Northern Confederacy, as we have seen, was 
forthwith organized under Prussian auspices, and 
speedily gained strength and solidity. Xot so the 
Southern. Being too much alike in power and 
size, none of the southern states were prepared 
to invest one of their number with the superior 
dignity and influence of carrying on their common 
affairs. Meanwhile, Count von Bismarck had 
boldly and skilfully neutralized the impending 
danger of a new dualism in Germany, by secretly 
contracting offensive and defensive alliances indi- 
vidually with each state south of the Maine. They 
thus enjoyed the protection of the Northern Con- 



unity seemed to await Germany, notwithstanding j federacy, in exchange for the chief command of 
the brilliant victories achieved by the Prussians. | their armies in time of war, conceded to the kin 




Longitude East 10 from (>«■ 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



145 



of Prussia. Under these circumstances they had 
nothing to gain by the additional formation of a 
southern bund. 

The arguments used by Prussian diplomatists 
to persuade Bavaria, Wiirtemburg, and Baden to 
sign the treaties just mentioned, brought forcibly 
into relief the danger to which they were exposed 
from the probable demands of France for com- 
pensation and rectification of the frontier on the 
Rhine, in consequence of the unification and 
aggrandisement of North Germany. France, tor- 
mented by envy at the steady growth of German 
power, might any day fall upon Germany in the 
midst of peace on the flimsiest pretext. In such 
case, it was but too evident that Prussia would 
rather let her neighbours be sacrificed than pay 
the required compensation with her own territory. 
Looking forward, however, with some confidence 
to the result of a struggle if it should come, the 
Prussian minister had secured a reservation in the 
objectionable clause of the treaty of Prague, which 
he hoped would one day subserve the great interests 
of German unity. Though north and south were 
only to be at liberty each to form a separate union, 
they were at the same time allowed the benefit of 
" national ties " to bind them together. This is 
one of those convenient phrases in a treaty, which 
are found to yield the interpretation most agreeable 
to the strongest party in any controversy about it. 
Yet the relations between the North German Con- 
federation and Austria and the South Germans 
were not very satisfactory during the three years 
that followed the treaty of Prague. There was 
a strong party in the minor states that dreaded 
absorption by Prussia, and looked to France for suc- 
cour. Saxony had profited considerably by French 
interference, retaining her king and court and the 
management of her domestic affairs. Her contribu- 
tion to Prussia for the expenses of the war was but 
10,000,000 thalers (£1,500,000), while that of Ba- 
varia was 30,000,000 florins (£3,000,000). Wiir- 
temburg had to pay 8,000,000 florins ; Baden, 
6,000,000; and Hesse, 3,000,000. Bavaria had 
also to cede territory — two districts near Orb and 
Karlsdorf, containing 34,000 souls. Hesse-Darm- 
stadt gave up the landgraviate of Hesse-Homburg, 
with some other fragments of territory, and as far 
as concerned her possessions north of the Maine, 
she entered into the confederation of North Ger- 
many. True, she acquired in return some portions 
of Upper Hesse. 



One feeble attempt at united action was made 
by the southern states in 1868, at the meeting at 
Nordlingen, and it ended in a lamentable failure. 
The question was how the old Federal fortresses 
situated in Southern Germany were to be managed 
in future. There was Ingolstadt in Bavaria, Ulm 
in Wiirtemburg, Eastadt in Baden, and in part 
Mayence, where Electoral Hesse was obliged to 
furnish a part of the garrison. Both Ulm and 
Rastadt are more expensive than Ingolstadt; the 
tendency, therefore, of both Baden and Wiirtem- 
burg was to keep the right of garrisoning these 
fortresses within their territory, and get Bavaria, 
which is the largest, to pay a part of the expense 
of keeping them up. Bavaria objected to this 
unless it was allowed a corresponding influence 
in the management of these fortresses, to which 
the others objected. A most original expedient, 
which well characterizes the whole spirit of this 
conference, was proposed ; namely, to call on 
Prussia, who contributed most to the garrison of 
Mayence, to take a share in the expense of main- 
taining the other fortresses likewise, but without 
having any voice in the management of the fort- 
resses themselves. All the fortresses in Germany 
were thus to have been kept up by common 
expense, to which naturally the North would have 
contributed most; but all the southern fortresses 
were to have remained in the hands of the sove- 
reign in whose territory they were situated. This 
liberal offer was gratefully declined by Prussia ; 
and the only result of the conference of Nordlingen 
was to prove that it was a hopeless task to try and 
bring about an understanding between the southern 
states of Germany on any point whatever. 

It was the old story of family feuds and family 
jealousies, which are invariably more bitter than 
those with strangers. Bavaria, which is larger 
in territory and population than all the other 
three taken together, claimed naturally more or 
less the position which Prussia held in North 
Germany, and the others, if they could not main- 
tain their entire independence, would rather make 
an arrangement with the Northern Confederation 
than allow Bavaria the precedence. Thus, the 
project for a Southern Confederation suggested by 
the fourth article of the treaty of Prague proved 
still-born ; for Hesse could not bring it into being, 
Baden would not, and Wiirtemburg and Bavaria 
would never agree. The idea of such a confedera- 
tion was nothing more than a sort of political 



146 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



plaster to soothe the wounds of Austria and of the 
southern states. 

While Prussia brooded over the new state of 
things resulting from her successful war, uncertain 
whether she should absorb the neighbouring states 
into her own system, or herself sink into the vast 
hegemony of anew German empire, Austria patiently 
and prudently observed a pacific, if not a friendly, 
line of conduct towards her recent and powerful 
antagonist. The revelation of the secret military 
treaties between Prussia and the southern states 
did not rouse her. Prussia's disregard of the 
treaty of Prague relating to North Schlcswig did 
not provoke her. In the Luxemburg difficulty she 
sided neither with France nor Prussia. She made 
friendly advances to the king and government of 
Italy, and while anxious for the inviolability of 
Koine and the pope, would do nothing for his 
holiness in the way of armed intervention. Indeed, 
the new laws passed by the legislature at Vienna, 
on marriage and on education, withdrawing them 
both from ecclesiastical jurisdiction, did virtually 
abolish the concordat, and establish religious free- 
dom in Austria. That the Prussian victories 
should result in substantial benefit to Austria is a 
fact that, whether foreseen or not by the cabinet of 
Berlin, is an additional justification of the policy 
by which they revolutionized Germany. 

The great changes that ensued could not but 
excite fears and apprehensions in other neighbour- 
ing states of smaller dimensions. Upon former 
occasions, the slightest concussion of arms on 
the Danube or the Rhine was the signal for a 
general appeal to the sword throughout Europe. 
No sooner did warriors of Saxony measure swords 
with Tilly and "Wallenstein, than France, Swe- 
den, Spain, and Savoy rushed to the encounter, 
thinking to make some profit out of the trans- 
action. It was the same when Daun and the great 
Frederick were pitted against each other ; the 
Czar and Louis XIV. took part, and ultimately 
changed sides, in the quarrel. In fact, when a 
musket was fired on the Rhine, the quarrel went 
on multiplying itself, until the whole world was 
involved in it. Happily for the rest of Europe, 
the general conflagration which one spark of war 
could formerly excite, was not brought on by the 
very fiery brand of the Bohemian war. Govern- 
ments had other occupations besides intrigue and 
war ; commerce opened a new sphere for their 
energies, which were greatly influenced also by 



the advanced education of the people, and the 
public opinion that makes itself felt through the 
press, as well as through representative institu- 
tions. Both rulers and the ruled have come 
to consider it the wisest policy to leave foreign 
nations to settle their own disputes among them- 
selves, and to adopt whatever institutions are 
congenial to their tastes, provided these do not 
become an offence to their neighbours. The 
peculiar situation of the great powers favoured 
these views. Spain weakened ; Britain pacific; 
Russia too glad to have a strong barrier against 
France, in Prussia, and a weak barrier, in Austria, 
against her own aggressions in the East ; Italy 
only interfering in the dispute to secure Venice 
as a copestone to the edifice of her own country — 
all these things gave uncontrolled action to the 
principles of international policy. 

France alone, at the threshold of the dispute, 
with her hand on the sword, spoke about the 
necessity of a rectification of frontiers in the 
event of an aggrandized Prussia. But the French 
emperor, isolated, felt too weak to struggle alone 
with the law of inevitable necessity. Outwitted 
by Cavour in Italy, and foiled by Bismarck in 
Germany, he was, by the moral forces wliich 
those ministers arrayed against him, incapaci- 
tated from preventing the universal rally round 
a national banner of either Germans or Italians. 
The spirit of nationality, wliich he was the first to 
raise effectually, became too mighty for his exor- 
cism when he sought to allay it. For a time, 
indeed, it was feared that the changes in the 
political relation and geographical boundaries of 
the chief continental powers would bear injuriously 
on the smaller neutral powers, one of which, 
Switzerland, lies in the midst of three great con- 
tinental nations, and has a share in the speech 
and nationality of all three. Germany and Italy 
might think of claiming the annexation of the 
German and Italian cantons, while France, it was 
thought, would hardly be prevented from making 
attempts on Switzerland or Belgium. But Ger- 
many and Italy better understood the teaching 
of past history, of international law, and of 
national interest in the higher and wider sense. 
No design against Switzerland seems to have 
been entertained by either of these governments. 
On the ground of nationality France could not 
claim a single Swiss canton. The small, ancient, con- 
servative republic, in no way threatened the neigh- 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



147 



bouring monarchies, the republican propaganda 
forming no part of its policy. For centuries it had 
ceased to be proselytizing or conquering, and aimed 
only at preserving its own boundaries and its own 
liberties. Experience shows that Switzerland can, 
as a republic, live on the best terms with the 
neighbouring monarchies. Princes who rooted 
up commonwealths everywhere else, have shown 
Switzerland special favour. The elder Bonaparte, 
who overthrew republics of every variety, from 
France to Kagusa, showed a real regard for Switzer- 
land, gave her a constitution which was at least an 
improvement on the previously existing state of 
things, and inflicted less damage on her than on 
any other of his dependencies. So, the allied 
princes who overthrew him showed no jealousy 
of the republican state, but enlarged its borders 
and guaranteed its independence and neutrality. 
Should monarchical Prussia feel jealous of the 
little state, let her call to mind that the republican 
spirit which exists in Germany alongside of the 
monarchic spirit, and which in times past pro- 
duced German commonweaths and leagues, needs 
an expression somewhere, and that expression is 
now found in the Swiss republic. Switzerland 
has often proved, not only a safe refuge, but a 
useful school for German democrats. Those who 
had been dreaming extravagant republican dreams, 
have gone back to their own country a great deal 
wiser for their experience of an established and 
rational republican government, following not the 
dictates of theory, but those of common sense. 
It is well for many reasons that Switzerland 
should remain a neutral ground for all nations, 
and to this end she must carefully guard the 
neutrality which she has guarded so long, and 
which, among other advantages, saved her from 
the horrors of the Thirty Years' War. " She 
must stand," says the writer from whom we have 
quoted, " ready to repel, whether by arms or by 
diplomacy, any encroachment on her own rights; 
she must not, whether by arms or by diplomacy, 
meddle in any way in any possible quarrels of her 
mightier neighbours." 

The fate of another small state locked in between 
two of the great powers became, in 1867, the 
cause of great commotion in the cabinets of Europe, 
and excited very general apprehensions of war be- 
tween Prussia and France. To Count von Bismarck's 
firmness and moderation at that tune, is probably 
due the maintenance of peace for three years more. 



At his dinner-table, a short time after Luxemburg 
had been declared neutral, a learned man gave an 
opinion, that Prussia ought to have made the ques- 
tion a casus belli with France. Bismarck answered 
very seriously: — "My dear professor, such a war 
would have cost us at least 30,000 brave soldiers, 
and in the best event would have brought us no 
gain. Whoever has once looked into the breaking 
eye of a dying warrior on the battle-field, will 
pause ere he begins a war." And, after dinner, 
when he was walking in the garden with some 
guests, he stopped on a lawn, and related how he 
had paced to and fro upon this place in disquiet 
and deep emotion, in those momentous days of 
June, 1867, when he awaited the royal decision in 
an anguish of fear. When he came indoors again, 
his wife asked what had happened that he looked 
so overcome. " I am excited," he replied, " for 
the very reason that nothing has happened." 

The history of the Luxemburg question was 
briefly as follows: — By the treaties of 1815 the 
whole of Luxemburg was assigned to the king of 
the Netherlands, while at the same time the grand 
duchy was included in the German Confederation. 
After the secession of Belgium from the Nether- 
lands, it was provided by the treaty of London 
in 1831, that the western portion of Luxemburg 
should be assigned to the king of the Belgians in 
full sovereignty, the federal relations of that part 
of the duchy being transferred to Limburg, which, 
together with Eastern Luxemburg, was secured 
to the king of the Netherlands. The refusal of 
Holland to accede to the treaty caused the French 
siege of Antwerp, and the blockade of the Scheldt: 
and after the termination of hostilities, the whole 
of Luxemburg remained provisionally in possession 
of Belgium. In 1839 negotiations for a definite 
peace were renewed, and Austria and Prussia, on 
behalf of the confederation, required Belgium to 
comply with the stipulations of 1831. The west- 
ern part of Luxemburg was accordingly detached 
from the confederation, while the remaining por- 
tion continued to form a German state under the 
sovereignty of the house of Orange. The town of 
Luxemburg, from 1815 to 1866, was a Federal fort- 
ress occupied by a Prussian garrison. The pleni- 
potentiary of the grand-duke voted for the motion 
which provoked from Prussia, in 1866, the declara- 
tion that the Bund was dissolved, but no hostile 
measures were taken on either side; and at the close 
of the war the Prussian government abstained from 



148 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



including the grand-duchy in the Northern Confed- 
eration. The garrison still occupied the fortress, 
and the king of Holland seemed to take possession 
of the vacant sovereignty as of a derelict without a 
claimant. After assuming the right of succession 
to this member of the defunct confederacy, the 
king seemed to infer that he had a selling as well 
as a holding title ; and through the medium, it is 
said, of a lady residing at Paris, he proposed to 
transfer Luxemburg to the Emperor Napoleon, who 
was willing, if not anxious, to make the bargain. 
But the defence of the fortress of Luxemburg 
had for half a century been intrusted to Prussia, 
who could scarcely abandon the place in deference 
to the demand of France. 

The Emperor Napoleon committed an error in 
demanding a concession which could not be granted 
by Prussia, except at the cost of wounding the 
national feeling of Germany ; while Count von 
Bismarck, on his side, had been guilty of an over- 
sight in allowing Dutch Luxemburg to remain, 
even for a time, outside the confederacy. War 
seemed imminent, for the French emperor having 
once stated his willingness to bargain for the 
duchy could not recede without seeming to fear 
Prussia, and grievously wounding the sensitiveness 
of the French nation. In order, however, to give 
him the means of drawing back without discredit, 
a conference, proposed by the king of the Nether- 
lands, was sanctioned by the neutral powers, and 
assembled in London, under the presidency of 
Lord Stanley, the minister for Foreign Affairs. 
The conference ended in a compromise, in which 
Prussia conceded something. The duchy was 
declared neutral, with the guarantee of all the 
powers represented at the conference. Prussia 
withdrew her troops from the fortress, and the 
fortifications were demolished. Thus the crisis 
was tided over, and hopes began to be once more 
entertained that Europe was entering upon a lono- 
term of peace. 

Meanwhile, by a curious coincidence, a prince 
of a junior branch of the house of Hohenzollern 
had been raised from comparative obscurity to 
sovereign power, in the early part of that year 
which had proved so eventful to the royal family 
of Prussia. Prince Charles of Hohenzollern 
Sigmaringen was elected reigning Prince of Rou- 
mania in March, 1866, in the twenty -seventh 
year of his age. He was installed in May, and 
recognized by the Turkish government in July. 



Roumania is the name that was given to the two 
principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia when 
they were united by a firman of the Sultan, in 
December, 1861, under Colonel Couza, who had 
been hospodar of both principalities and assumed 
the style and title of Prince Alexander John I. 
With a constitutional form of government, an 
annual revenue of nearly £3,000,000, a population 
of about 4,000,000 spread over an area of 45,000 
English square miles, Roumania contains the ele- 
ments of prosperity which wise government may 
develop and confirm. The reign of Prince Alex- 
ander, however, was not a happy one. His govern- 
ment and the popular assembly fell into a state of 
chronic antagonism on the subject of finance, 
parliamentary representation, and legislation in 
general. In May, 1864, the prince issued a de- 
cree, proclaiming a new electoral law and certain 
changes in the constitutional charter. His conduct 
was approved by a plebiscitum, or vote of the 
people, and the prince began to rule as a dictator, 
to the depletion of the treasury and the misery of 
his subjects. In the month of February, 1866, 
a general insurrection broke out, and the prince, 
abandoned by the army, was compelled to abdi- 
cate and surrender himself a prisoner. After 
a brief detention, he was allowed to leave the 
country. The Chambers then proclaimed the Count 
of Flanders, brother of the king of the Belgians, 
as prince of Roumania; but the count declined the 
uneasy throne. The lot then fell upon Prince 
Charles, whose brother, Prince Leopold, was des- 
tined to make so great a commotion in Europe 
four years later, by his acceptance of the offer of 
the crown of Spain. 

It did not at the time appear that the suscepti- 
bilities of either the Russian or the Turkish gov- 
ernments were excited by the apparent extension 
of Prussian influence to the region where the 
" Eastern Question " might become the object 
of renewed complications. Russia, indeed, had 
her own cares in rebuilding the fabric of her 
society, which had been seriously dislocated by the 
humane, but somewhat hasty, scheme of emanci- 
pating the serfs. The reckless and profuse members 
of the upper classes suddenly found themselves 
brought to the verge of pauperism, their vast 
estates deprived of labourers, their serfs converted 
into small landowners, with no capitalists at hand 
to undertake the farming of the masters' land. 
The peasantry, however, with few exceptions, 




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■It. GLASGOW. E0'N6UR:H J 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



149 



used their newly-acquired freedom wisely and 
moderately. In the communal assemblies they 
quietly voted for the abolition of all class privileges 
that pressed unequally on local taxation, and they 
were generally victorious. By degrees the land- 
holders grew reconciled to the new state of things, 
finding that with good management their position 
was materially as well as morally improved by 
the independence of their peasantry. For awhile 
the career of reform which the czar had pursued 
since his accession to the throne was threatened 
with interruption in 1866, when his majesty's life 
was attempted by a wild fanatic imbued with the 
notions of a party styled " the Nihilists," a party that 
aimed at destroying all existing social differences 
and distinctions, church and state together, by 
physical force. The emperor dismissed his reform- 
ing ministers, and called conservatives and reac- 
tionists to his council. A curb was put on the 
public press, and governors with repressive ten- 
dencies were appointed to all the northern and 
western provinces, save Poland, which was in- 
dulged with a liberal secretary of state. Public 
opinion, however, reasserted itself ere long, and a 
vigorous effort was made to reform the military 
administration and reorganize the army. The old 
lengthened service of twenty-five years, by which 
a soldier, before the emancipation, had been able to 
earn freedom for himself and his posterity, was 
abolished, and a short term adopted. Corporal 
punishment was abandoned ; new arms of pre- 
cision were introduced, and improved artillery 
adopted ; the militia was reconstituted on a more 
popular basis ; the cadet schools were reformed, 
and a more scientific training afforded to the youths 
destined to become officers. Nor were the Cos- 
sacks overlooked ; but certain ameliorations in 
discipline, and improvement in supplies at the 
military colonies, served to reconcile them to the 
hardships of their service. 

A signal mark of the high position as humani- 
tarians of the leading men in Eussia, is to be 
found in the fact that the "Explosive Bullet 
Treaty " was signed at St. Petersburg in November 
by the representatives of Bavaria, Belgium, Den- 
mark, England, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, 
Persia, Portugal, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Swe- 
den, Switzerland, Turkey, and Wurtemburg. The 
document thus drawn up with a view to mitigate 
the horrors of war, marks an epoch in civilization 
and merits record. It is to the following effect: — 



" Considering that the progress of civilization 
ought to result in diminishing as much as possible 
the sufferings inseparable from war ; that the only 
legitimate object pursued in war is to weaken the 
force of the enemy ; that to attain this it suffices to 
place as many men as possible ' Jiors de combat;' 
that to make use of expedients which will unneces- 
sarily enlarge the wounds of the men placed hors 
de combat, or entail inevitable death, is incompatible 
with the before-mentioned object ; that to make 
use of such expedients would, moreover, be con- 
trary to the teachings of humanity ; the under- 
signed, in virtue of the instructions given them by 
their governments, are authorized to declare as 
follows : — 

" 1st. The contracting parties engage, in the 
event of war between any of them, to abstain from 
the use of missiles of any description possessing 
explosive power, or filled with explosive or inflam- 
mable material, weighing less than 400 grammes. 
This restriction to apply to the army and navy 
alike. 

" 2nd. They likewise invite all those states not 
represented at the deliberations of the military 
commission assembled at St. Petersburg, to sub- 
scribe to this mutual engagement. 

" 3rd. In the event of war this engagement is 
to be observed only towards the contracting parties, 
and those that may subsequently subscribe to it. 
It need not be observed towards any who have not 
signified their assent to the above stipulations. 

" 4th. The above engagement likewise ceases to 
be valid if a state that has not signed it takes part 
in a war between parties that have signed it. 

" 5th. Whenever the progress of science results 
in any new definite proposals being made for im- 
proving the equipment of the troops, the contracting 
parties, as well as those who have subsequently 
joined this engagement, will assemble to maintain 
the principles laid down to reconcile the acquire- 
ments of war with the demands of humanity." 

Turkey, who had not been unprosperous since 
the Crimean war, not only held Egypt well in 
check, but showed signs of weariness of her pro- 
tectors, the western powers. The peace of Paris, 
in 1856, in laying heavy conditions on Eussia with 
regard to the Black Sea, imposed disabilities on 
Turkey also. The Sublime Porte did not like its 
men-of-war to be kept out of the Euxine, nor that 
the mouths of the Danube and the navigation of 
that river should be under the control of a European 



150 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN "WAR. 



commission. Bather let us have the old state of 
things back again, muttered the Divan, we have a 
good army and a good fleet, and Kussia will not 
be in a hurry to quarrel with us. As the govern- 
ment of the czar feels the resentment of that treaty 
even still more keenly, it is not impossible that the 
long pending Eastern Question may find a peaceful 
solution. The war of 1866, though in strengthen- 
ing Prussia it crippled Austria on the west, yet 
left the latter power strong on the east, and with 
a fresh stimulus for extending its influence in 
that direction, to the detriment of Russian influence 
in the same quarter. Forces round the Euxine 
being thus rendered more equal, the temptation to 
any one of the powers to make a war of conquest 
is proportionately diminished. 

One most unfortunate popular error has been 
dangerously encouraged by politicians in Russia, 
who have more zeal for their " nationality " than 
discretion. It is the prejudice of race against the 
Germans. The exclusion of Germans from offices 
of trust has become a popular cry, the fulfilment of 
which would give a most injurious, if not a fatal 
check, to the progress of culture and civilization in 
Russia. How much the development of Russia's 
power and enlightenment is due to foreigners, and 
especially to Germans, every student of her his- 
tory must know. The attempt to develop a 
Slavonic culture, unsustained by the vigorous 
qualities of German thought and learning, cannot 
but end in ridiculous or disastrous failure. In this 
respect the brotherhood of nations will assert itself; 
and the Russian, who by nature is volatile and 
superficial, has more need than other Europeans of 
the compensating ballast which the deep, medita- 
tive character of the German alone can give. 

To turn our view homewards, the German war of 
1866, fortunately, did not in any way involve the 
British government in its toils. Occupied by a lively 
discussion on the domestic question of parliamentary 
reform, the country paid little more attention to 
the politics of Germany than that of spectators of 
the war. Mr. Gladstone, leader of the House of 
Commons in the ministry of Earl Russell, intro- 
duced on the 12th of March a reform bill, which 
was vigorously opposed, not only by the Conserva- 
tives, but by the more timid Whigs, as represented 
by Mr. Horsman, Mr. Lowe, and Earl Grosvenor. 
Ministers being defeated on a division by 315 votes 
against 304, resigned on the 26th of June, not 
without an effort on the part of the queen to retain 



them. The earl of Derby became prime minister, 
with Mr. Disraeli for chancellor of the Exchequer 
and leader of the House of Commons, the cabinet 
being completed a few days after the battle of 
Sadowa. The defeat of the reform bill produced 
some excitement among the working classes, who 
felt that they were unjustly deprived of the right 
of voting for members of Parliament. By way of 
demonstrating the popular feeling, the Reform 
League organized a long procession of trades' 
unions and other societies of working men, to 
march into Hyde Park. Some foolish writers in 
the newspapers raised a cry against this meeting, 
as an improper interference with the comfort of 
pleasure-seekers in the park. The government 
ordered the park gates to be shut, and sent a posse 
of policemen to protect them. The crowd waited 
patiently outside, until, finding the exclusion con- 
tinued, they pressed against the feebly rooted iron 
railings and swayed them from their fastenings. 
Entrance thus obtained on one side of the park, the 
railings were uprooted in other quarters, and with 
little resistance from the police the whole crowd 
entered the park and held their meeting. Every 
advantage was sought to be taken by the reactionary 
press of this scene of violence, such as it was ; 
the Reform League, Mr. Bright, and the Russell 
ministry incurred much obloquy. Meanwhile the 
Fenians began to break the peace in Ireland, and 
a bill was passed for the suspension of the Habeas 
Corpus Act. A tremendous commercial crisis, too, 
commenced with the failure, on the 10th of May, 
1867, of the celebrated discounting firm, Overend, 
Gurney, and Co. The widespread ruin that followed 
penetrated, with various degrees of intensity, to 
nearly every family in the British islands. Early 
in the parliamentary session of 1867 Mr. Disraeli 
introduced a reform bill so very liberal in its prin- 
ciples that three of his most conservative colleagues 
resigned office. The rest of his party he had 
" educated," as he said, up to a point that lowered 
the suffrage to a degree far beyond anything 
attempted by the Liberals in the previous session. 
Of this the Liberals could not complain, and they 
helped the Conservative ministry to pass a measure 
that practically led to household and lodger suf- 
frage. The result was seen after the dissolution of 
Parliament, in the return to the House of Commons 
of a large majority of Liberals, which in the session 
of 1868 displaced Mr. Disraeli and his friends, and 
restored to power the liberal leaders. 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



151 



The reform agitation, the commercial panic, and 
the Fenian insurrection, diverted the attention 
which might possibly have otherwise been given 
to German affairs. Neither the traditional friend- 
ship with Austria, nor the dynastic connection with 
Hanover, served to rouse England from the policy 
of non-intervention that she had learnt from Mr. 
Cobden ; Whig and Tory, Liberal and Conservative, 
when in office, alike observed this attitude of 
abstention. The English government, indeed, 
offered its services to the belligerents in the 
interests of peace, and supported France both in 
the proposal of a conference before the war, and 
in suggesting an armistice soon after the battle 
of Sadowa. In the Luxemburg question, which 
seemed likely to lead to a war between Prussia 
and France, the British cabinet intervened with 
effect. The conference proposed by the king of 
Holland was, as before stated, held in London, and 
by the treaty then and there signed England, 
in common with the other powers represented, 
engaged to guarantee the neutrality of Luxem- 
burg. Favouring the change that had taken place 
in the Roumanian provinces, yet not encouraging 
the revolt of the Cretans, England pursued with 
regard to the Ottoman empire her traditional policy 
of upholding the strength of Turkey while pro- 
moting the improvement of her administration. 
Crete was not to be made independent, while 
Moldavia and Wallachia were placed on a vantage 
ground by the government of Prince Charles, 
under the nominal suzerainty of the sultan. The 
relations between Great Britain and France con- 
tinued very friendly, as did those we had with 
all the European powers ; but there was a coolness 
in the official intercourse of the United States with 
the British government, on account of what are 
called the " Alabama claims." These claims 
arose out of the depredations committed during 
the American civil war by the Confederate 
cruiser, the Alabama, which having been built 
in England, had sailed away before the government 
in London knew for certain her character and 
destination. She was far away from England 
when she received a warlike armament and crew, 
and commenced a cruise that was fatal to many 
merchantmen belonging to the Northerners of 
America. The owners of the merchantmen 
demanded compensation from the British govern- 
ment, on the ground that it was their duty to 
prevent the Alabama from quitting the English 



shores. In consequence of this soreness of the 
Americans, the insurrection of the Fenians was 
not heartily discouraged in the United States. 
Raids into Canada were winked at, and the 
annexation of that colony became a subject of 
public talk. The subsequent welding together 
of all the British provinces of North America into 
one dominion, did much to avert a danger that 
might have become threatening. 

In one memorable instance, England broke 
through her resolution to maintain peace, and 
showed to the world how well she could conduct 
an arduous expedition, when the safety and free- 
dom of her citizens were at stake. The Abyssinian 
expedition, from its inception to its successful con- 
clusion, is a signal proof that the much decried 
military administration of Great Britain is quite 
capable of planning with skill, and executing with 
vigorous courage, great and warlike enterprises. 
For four years Theodore, king or negus of Abys- 
sinia, had held in captivity certain British subjects, 
including an envoy from the queen. Every means 
of reconciliation were tried with him in vain, and 
that respect paid to Englishmen in various parts 
of the world, which is the security for her com- 
mercial transactions, was in danger of being for- 
feited in the East. In the summer, therefore, of 
1867, it was resolved that an expedition should 
be sent from India into Abyssinia, under the able 
guidance of Sir Robert Napier ; and a special 
session of Parliament was held in November, to 
vote the sums necessary for the conduct of the 
war. An additional penny in the pound income- 
tax was agreed to, which produced £1,500,000. 
There was also a surplus in the treasury, and the 
Indian government had to pay a large part of the 
cost. The estimate that £3,500,000 would suffice 
proved delusive. 

The merit of the expedition lay in the com- 
pleteness of its organization, not in any brilliancy 
of action. A force of some twelve thousand men, 
infantry, cavalry, and artillery, with followers at 
least equally numerous in the transport, commis- 
sariat, and kindred services, were conveyed by 
ships from Bombay to Annesley Bay, and thence 
marched across the rugged highlands of Abyssinia 
to Magdala, the mountain fortress of King Theo- 
dore, which was stormed and taken without the loss 
of a man, and with only thirty wounded. Theodore 
having shot himself rather than be taken prisoner, 
General Napier returned to the sea-coast with the 



152 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



rescued British subjects, after burning down 
Magdala and its fortifications, lest it should become 
a nest of tyranny in the hands of some chief- 
tain of the neighbouring tribes. So well satisfied 
was England with the completeness of the 
achievement, and with the respect it procured her 
among foreign powers, that there was much less 
murmuring than might have been expected at 
the undue measure in which the cost of the 
expedition exceeded the estimate. The total 
amount of outlay was fully three times as much 
as the three millions first voted by Parliament. 
The pasha of Egypt was perhaps not sorry to 
see this formidable expedition leave the African 
shore. His relations with the sultan his suzerain 
were not very cordial, and an old ally of the 
Ottoman Porte might mean mischief to the 
commander of the Red Sea. Nothing happened, 
however, to justify these suspicions. 

If the effect produced by the Prussian triumphs 
was not very distinctly marked in Great Britain, 
Russia, or Turkey, the Latin race inhabiting 
Europe was strangely influenced by this new 
development of Teutonic power. Italy, as we 
have seen, was a gainer by the defeat of Austria; 
France, as we shall see, was strangely moved by 
the same series of events; and Spain, dissevered 
as she seemed from German interests, became in 
a singular manner entangled in the mesh of 
intrigues which rival politicians were weaving. 
The kingdom of Spain has during these latter 
years undergone many trials, much suffering, and 
one great and wholesome change wrought, not 
by the hands of a foreign enemy or interfering 
neighbour, but by her native population. The 
people, spontaneously breaking through the bonds 
and fetters that held them, hurled the last of 
the Bourbons from a throne which she had in 
every sense disgraced. The ague of revolt had 
afflicted this magnificent country at pretty regu- 
lar intervals for many years with no positive 
results, until in April, 1868, an insurrection broke 
out in Catalonia, and that province was placed 
in a state of siege. On the 23rd of the month 
Marshal Narvaez, the prime minister of Queen 
Isabella Maria, died. In consequence of this 
event, the ministry resigned and were replaced by 
a new cabinet under Gonzalez Bravo, whose first 
important act was to banish the chiefs of the 
army, and to send them, without trial or notice of 
any kind, across the sea to the Canary Islands. At 



the same time her most Catholic Majesty's sister, 
with her husband the Due de Montpensier, were 
ordered to leave Spain. On their refusal to com- 
ply with the ministerial order, on the ground that 
an Infanta of Spain could receive orders only from 
the sovereign, the queen signed a decree exiling 
the royal pair, who were conveyed in a Spanish 
man-of-war, the Ville de Madrid, to Lisbon. Some 
idea of the feeling existing in the navy, and 
indeed through the entire country, in consequence 
of the arbitrary proceedings of the new ministry, 
may be formed from what occurred on board the 
Ville de Madrid. The captain-general of Anda- 
lusia was ordered to accompany the royal exiles 
to the ship, the commander of which, on receiving 
them, whispered to the duke, " Say but one word, 
and the captain -general shall remain a prisoner 
on board, while we sail to the Canaries and bring 
back the banished generals." The duke declined 
to utter this word, and lost the crown of Spain, as 
his father by a similar tenderness of conscience 
had lost the crown of France. Not long after the 
perpetration of this arbitrary act, in the month of 
September, a revolution broke out. The exiled 
generals were summoned home from the Canaries 
by the revolutionary leaders, and General Prim, 
who had escaped to England, returned to his native 
country. When the latter reached Cadiz the 
Spanish fleet lying in that port, under the com- 
mand of Admiral Topete, and the troops of the 
garrison, declared for the revolution. A pro- 
clamation was issued by General Prim in which 
he said, " Yesterday you were groaning under 
the yoke of a despotic government; to-day the 
flag of liberty waves over your walls. Until the 
moment arrives when Spain, freely convoked, shall 
decide upon her destinies, it is incumbent upon 
us to organize ourselves to carry on the struggle, 
and to save the people from being bereft of all 
law and authority." A prominent leader of the re- 
volutionary movement was Marshal Serrano, duke 
de la Torre. 

When the province of Andalusia pronounced 
against the government, the ministry under 
Gonzalez resigned, and General Concha was ap- 
pointed by the queen to the presidency of the 
council. The royal army under the command 
of the marquis de Novaliches marched upon 
Cordova, where the insurgents were in force. 
Upon the issue of this movement depended the 
future of Spain, and th« most strenuous exertions 



THE FRANCO -PRUSSIAN WAR. 



153 



were made by both parties in preparing for action. 
A severe skirmish occurred at Burgos, at the close 
of which the royal troops fraternized with the 
people, a circumstance by no means inspiriting 
to the gallant and loyal marquis in command, 
whose fate was worthy of a better cause. Before 
the end of the month he had reached the river 
Guadalquiver, and found the insurgents posted 
at the bridge of Alcolea, about fifteen miles from 
Cordova, under the command of General Serrano. 
In the action which ensued the royalist troops 
were defeated, and their gallant commander fell 
mortally wounded. The army of the queen broke 
up and dispersed, while its royal mistress fled from 
Spain across the Pyrenees into France, reaching 
Biarritz on the 30th of September. Here she 
met the Emperor Napoleon, and after a short 
interview with him proceeded on her journey 
to Bayonne. On the 20th October a manifesto 
was issued by the Provisional Government estab- 
lished on the departure of the queen, explaining 
to the people the necessity which had forced 
them to rise and expel the Bourbon dynasty. 
" The people," it said, " must now regain the time 
which it has lost; the principle of popular sove- 
reignty which is now naturalized in Spain is 
the principle of national life, and the ideal type 
of the nation's operations." The document also 
expressed the desire of the government to keep 
on good terms with foreign powers, "but if even 
the example of America in recognizing the re- 
volution were not followed, Spanish independence 
was not threatened, and there was no foreign 
intervention to fear." 

In another manifesto the government said they 
should quietly proceed to choose a form of govern- 
ment, without pretending to prejudice such serious 
questions ; though they noticed as very significant 
the silence maintained by the Juntas respecting 
monarchical institutions : " if the popular decision 
should be against a monarchy, the provisional 
government will respect the will of the national 
sovereignty." On the 3rd October, Marshal Ser- 
rano entered Madrid at the head of the revolu- 
tionary army, and was received with enthusiasm 
by the people, to whom he announced, that after 
communications with General Espartero, he had 
been authorized to exercise supreme power and to 
appoint a ministry provisionally until a constituent 
assembly should meet. " Let tranquillity," he said, 
" continue to prevail, and do not allow your con- 



fidence in the issue of our efforts to diminish ; the 
unity and discipline of the army, its fraternization 
with the people, and the patriotism of all, will 
accomplish the work of the revolution, avoiding 
equally the impulse of reaction and the discredit 
of disorder." The affairs of the country were now 
carried on by a provisional government, a govern- 
ment, as its name implies, existing from hand to 
mouth, ruling much by circulars and manifestoes. 
In one of these it was said, " The government has 
taken in hand the reins of the state, in order to 
lead the nation to liberty, and not allow it to perish 
in anarchy." A protest issued by the queen from 
her asylum in France, met with the following 
comment: — "Queen Isabella has addressed a mani- 
festo to the Spaniards. The Junta refrains from 
making any criticism on it. The people have 
passed their judgment on the acts of the queen, and 
can now pass their verdict on her words." Mean- 
while the Society of Jesuits was suppressed through- 
out the kingdom and colonies ; their colleges and 
institutions were ordered to be closed within three 
days, and their property sequestrated to the state. 
The censorship on literary publications was also 
suppressed, and the absolute liberty of the press 
proclaimed. 

The ministers of France, Prussia, Portugal, 
and Great Britain, forwarded despatches recog- 
nizing the provisional government. Prim, the 
guiding spirit of the revolution, was appointed 
commander-in-chief of the army, and immediately 
issued an order, forbidding soldiers to interfere in 
politics, or to attend meetings connected with 
political objects. A reform bill, or electoral law, 
was passed by the government, entitling every 
citizen of twenty-five years to vote at municipal 
elections, and at elections for the Cortes. An 
electoral committee, formed to carry out the pro- 
visions of the bill, pointed out in a manifesto the 
form and shape of the future government. " The 
monarchical form," it said, " is imposed upon us by 
the exigencies of the revolution, and the necessity 
of consolidating the liberties we have acquired. 
Monarchy, by divine right, is for ever dead. Our 
future monarchy, in deriving its origin from popu- 
lar rights, will be a consecration of universal suff- 
rage. It will symbolize the national sovereignty 
and consolidate public liberty, the right of the 
people being superior to all institutions and 
powers. This monarchy, surrounded by demo- 
cratic institutions, cannot fail to be popular." 

D 



154 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



When the provisional government had, as they 
believed, finally decided on the permanent form of 
government under which Spain could flourish, the 
difficulty was to find a man of noble blood, possess- 
ing the qualities necessary for a ruler of Spaniards 
— one who would be acceptable to the Spanish 
nation, and who would be acceptable also to the 
various governments of the Old and New World ; 
one who could steer himself and the country 
through the crooked intrigues and diplomacies con- 
tinually in action at the European courts, and who 
could strengthen and consolidate the power of 
Spain before the eyes of Europe. 

At the general election in January, 1869, the 
monarchical party obtained a large majority of 
votes in the Cortes, a majority, however, which 
was divided into two parties — the Unionists, 
quondam followers of O'Donnell, and the Pro- 
gressistas, who were attached to Espartero. At 
the end of this month the governor of Burgos was 
murdered in the cathedral by some priests, to the 
great scandal of the church ; the pope's nuncio 
narrowly escaped death by the mob in conse- 
quence, and great excitement prevailed. The 
occasion was not lost by the liberal party, some 
of whom stimulated the passions of the people 
against the clergy. Order was at length restored 
by the trial of the assassins by court-martial, 
and by the execution of one who was found 
guilty. On opening the Cortes on the 11th 
February, Marshal Serrano, the president, invited 
the representatives of the nation, now that the 
obstacles to progress were removed, to construct a 
new edifice, of which the provisional government 
had prepared the foundations and designed the 
plan. It proclaimed with enthusiasm the essential 
principles of the most radical liberalism, namely, 
liberty of worship, of the press, of public educa- 
tion, of public meeting and association. On the 
25th February the marshal announced his assump- 
tion of the executive power, simply from patriotic 
motives and utterly without selfishness ; it was 
impossible, he said, for him to abuse his power, as 
neither the right of veto or the power of makino- 
peace or war had been given to him, so that he 
had very little power to abuse had he wished to do 
so. The government, it was said, would endeavour 
to disarm the republican party by a most liberal 
policy ; yet Senor Castelar's proposal for an amnesty 
for political offences was opposed by the govern- 
ment and lost by a large majority. 



Questions arose from the republican ranks as 
to the right of the Due de Montpensier to hold 
the position of captain-general of Spain, he being 
brother-in-law of the late queen and son of Louis 
Philippe, a Bourbon by birth. Prim answered 
that the appointment was made by the late dynasty, 
and that the provisional government had no right to 
interfere. Admiral Topete declared that he would 
rather have Montpensier as king than a republic. 
Subsequently when the articles of the new constitu- 
tion were carried, the minister for the colonies 
declared that the authors of the revolution would 
never have undertaken the task, had they suspected 
that the result would have been the establishment of 
a republic. In reply to Senor Castelar, Admiral 
Topete, minister of marine, declared the Due de 
Montpensier to be the most eligible candidate for 
the throne ; a monarchy, a regency, or a republic, 
he said, seemed equally impossible. " Beware," 
said he, " lest if you make every solution impos- 
sible, some insolent daring man undertake to cut 
the knot you are unable to solve. You will not 
applaud me now, but you will understand me." 
This remarkably strong hint had an effect, and on 
the 6th June Marshal Serrano was elected by a 
large majority regent of the kingdom. The Cortes 
with much noise and ceremony sware to support 
him, and Prim his prime minister. This state 
of things did not last long ; the old difficulty as 
to who should be king continually cropped up 
until, on the 28th September, it was resolved to 
propose the young duke of Genoa as a candidate 
for the vacant throne. The young gentleman was 
at this time a student at Harrow school, in Mid- 
dlesex. His father, the brother of King Victor 
Emmanuel, died in 1855. His mother was a 
daughter of John, king of Saxony, and his sister 
was wife to the heir apparent of the Italian crown. 
Neither the prince, however, or his relatives would 
have anything to do at this time with the Spanish 
crown. His refusal of the proffered dignity occa- 
sioned a split in the ministry of General Prim, and 
the republicans throughout the country, taking 
advantage of the unsettled state of things, broke 
out into open insurrection. The regular troops 
marched against the disaffected, who being once 
more overthrown, all moderate men became con- 
vinced of the necessity of a governing head, 
capable of wielding supreme power. Prim ad- 
vised delay, but professed himself a monarchist ; 
" such I was, such I am, and such I will continue 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



155 



to be. The country requires a dynasty." Senor 
Castelar, professor of history, and leader of the 
republican party, made a powerful speech, histori- 
cally memorable, showing that the soil of Spain 
had never been favourable to dynasties, and that 
the ancient system of monarchies having died out, 
nothing was left by which men could enjoy their 
right of freedom but a republic. In consequence of 
these cabals and discussions, the year 1869 passed 
away without giving Spain a king. Matters were, 
however, rapidly approaching a crisis. 

In July, 1870, a deputation was sent from the 
Spanish Cortes through the prime minister, General 
Prim, offering the crown to Prince Leopold 
Hohenzollern Sigmaringen, a very distant relative 
of the king of Prussia, with, as Prim had every 
reason to believe, the concurrence of the emperor 
of the French ; this belief is supported by the 
statement that the prince had offered to com- 
municate his nomination to the court of the 
Tuileries in person. There had been satisfactory 
communications with the Spanish minister on the 
subject, but it has been whispered that, at the 
last moment, the Empress Eugenie determined to 
support the pretensions of the ex-Queen Isabella, 
and of her son. The deplorable result of this 
most unfortunate determination is before us. 
M. Benedetti, the French ambassador at Berlin, 
informed the king of Prussia that his master, 
Louis Napoleon, would not permit the candida- 
ture of Prince Leopold Hohenzollern Sigmaringen 
to the crown of Spain, and would hold the Prussian 
government responsible for the consequences if it 
was persisted in. Prince Leopold, through his 
father, withdrew as a candidate for the crown of 
Spain, to the annoyance of the monarchical party in 
Madrid and the surprise of Europe ; but so deter- 
mined was the Napoleon party in the French 
government to pick a quarrel, that King William 
of Prussia had to give a rebuff to the French 
ambassador in the public gardens of Ems. The 
ambassadors returned to their respective courts, and 
in a few days it was known throughout Europe 
that France had declared war upon Prussia. The 
powers of Europe stood aloof, as it were, until 
the fierce onset of the belligerents had shown by 
its result how greatly the prowess of France 
had been over-estimated, and the Spanish govern- 
ment being freed from any further dictation from 
Louis Napoleon, brought their own affairs to a 
crisis by electing Prince Amadeus of Savoy, duke 



of Aosta, and younger son of Victor Emanuel, king 
of Italy, to the crown of Spain. He had been pro- 
posed by General Prim in 1868 ; the offer was then 
declined by the Italian government in consequence, 
partly, of the disordered state of Spain at that 
time, and partly by his position as heir presumptive 
to the crown of Italy. These difficulties no longer 
exist. Spain is reduced into order by the energy 
and patience of General Prim's government, and 
the crown of Italy is provided for by the birth of 
a son and heir to the prince's elder brother. We 
may therefore look forward with hope to an era of 
increasing power and prosperity to Spain, under 
the guidance of a prince of the house of Savoy. 

General Prim has unfortunately fallen a victim 
to his fidelity to the cause of monarchy, having 
been assassinated by political enemies in Madrid, 
on the very day before the landing of King Ama- 
deus at Carthagena. He was a man holding one 
of the most exceptional positions known to the 
students of modern history — that of ruler during 
an interregnum ; a king who was not a king, and 
never meant to be a king. He ruled a great 
country with success for two years, yet never 
looked upon himself as a possible candidate for 
the permanent sovereignty. He was born in 
December, 1814, at Reuss in Catalonia, not far 
from Tarragona, the son of a colonel who had 
grown old in the Spanish service. With a strong 
inclination for a soldier's career, Prim at an early 
period enlisted in the Spanish service as a cadet. 
Scarcely had he entered the service when the war 
of the Spanish succession broke out, which lasted 
from the death of King Ferdinand, in 1833, down 
to the peace of Bergara, in 1839. In this strug- 
gle Prim ranged himself under the constitutional 
standard, against Don Carlos. He first distin- 
guished himself, not in the regular army, but in 
one of the free corps. He came to Madrid at the 
head of one of those wild and lawless bands, the 
" Marseillais of Spain," which astonished the more 
sober Castilians by their fierceness of look and 
bearing, no less than by the strangeness of their 
attire. Before his twenty-second year he gained 
his promotion to the rank of captain, and three 
years later that of colonel, with other military 
distinctions. 

At the end of the civil war, Prim began to 
devote himself to politics, and was elected a deputy 
in several successive parliaments. In this capacity 
he was busy, active, and intelligent, and took a very 



156 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



prominent part in the organization and manage- 
ment of political clubs. He gained rapid promotion, 
both professional and political, being advanced to 
the rank of brigadier-general and to the dignity 
of Comte de Reuss. The year 1844 found him 
implicated in a conspiracy against Narvaez, then 
at the head of the Spanish government, who escaped 
assassination at the cost of his aide-de-camp Easetti's 
life. Prim was convicted of participation in the 
murder, but his sentence was revoked by the 
queen, and he was afterwards appointed captain- 
general and governor of Porto Rico. On the 
breaking out of a negro insurrection at Santa Cruz, 
he went at once to the rescue of the Danes, and 
was mainly instrumental in the subjugation of the 
rebels. His conduct, however, was not satisfactory 
to the colonial minister at home, who recalled him 
because he had removed the garrison, and exposed 
Porto Rico to the attacks of the negroes there, who 
were as ready for a revolt as their brethren in the 
Danish colony. Prim's next step was to become 
involved in a conspiracy against Bravo Murillo, 
by whom he was banished. However, after a 
short absence he returned, and in 1854 was sent 
as Spanish military commissioner to the camp 
of the allies during the Crimean war. On his 
return from the East he passed through Paris, 
where, in 1856, he married a Mexican lady, Senora 
Echevarria ; the marriage was solemnized under 
the auspices and in the presence of Queen Christina. 
On the 31st cf January of that year Prim was 
promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general, and in 
1858 he was raised to the senate, where he soon 
distinguished himself by a very remarkable speech 
on the Mexican question. The war of Morocco 
broke out soon afterwards, and Prim, who com- 
manded, attained a high reputation by a variety of 
exploits, which were crowned by the battle of 
Castillejos, near Melilla, where, seeing the regi- 
ment of Cordova broken and turned to flight, he 
threw himself on the path of the fugitives, rallied 
them, and, with their colours in his hand, led them 
with such impetuosity against the enemy that he 
secured the victory for the Spanish arms. This 
heroic deed was rewarded with the title of marquis 
de los Castillejos, and the rank of grandee of Spain 
of the first class. In 1861 the joint expedition to 
Mexico of England, France, and Spain was pro- 
jected, and Prim was sent out in command of the 
Spanish contingent, being charged at the same time 
with the duties of a minister plenipotentiary. 



How Prim proceeded to Mexico with the French 
and English contingents, and came back with the 
latter, leaving to the former alone the task of a 
complete subjugation of Mexico, and the instal- 
ment of an Austrian dynasty there, is related 
elsewhere. Prim's conduct at this juncture, how- 
ever severely censured by some of his country- 
men, received the fullest sanction of the Cortes. 
We have not space to follow the career of Prim 
under the ministry of Senor Mon, or under the 
Narvaez and O'Donnell administrations. Soon after 
O'Donnell's accession to power, Prim seemed to 
recall to memory his former political predilections. 
He leagued himself with Espartero, and threw 
himself with all his influence into the interests of 
the Progressistas. In January, 1866, several regi- 
ments in various parts of Spain made demonstra- 
tions against the government. Placing himself at 
the head of the revolted regiments, Prim succeeded 
in reaching the mountains of Toledo. The royal 
power, however, was at that time too strong to be 
overcome. The people failed to respond to the 
movement; and finding himself unable to cope 
with the forces brought against him, the leader of 
the insurrection retreated into Portugal with the 
bulk of his followers. Prim afterwards repaired to 
London, where he remained in seclusion until the 
organization of a counter-movement afforded him 
the opportunity of re-entering Spain. 

After the insurrection which drove Queen 
Isabella from the Spanish throne, Prim had the 
singular honour of offering the Spanish crown to 
some half dozen " eligible candidates," and the 
mortification of meeting with refusals from all, 
except Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern (who with- 
drew his acceptance almost as soon as he had notified 
it), and Prince Amadeus, the present king of Spain. 
During these twenty-seven months of difficulty 
and danger, when a sound head and nerve were 
required, Marshal Prim was not found wanting 
in tact and administrative talent. Indeed, it may 
be safely said that to his firm hand, in a very 
great measure, Spain owed such tranquillity, as, 
in spite of at least one insurrection, fell to her 
lot during the long abeyance of regal authority. 
In Spain it is as indispensable for every political 
party to have a military champion, as for a troop 
of bullfighters to have its own matador. Espartero 
once held that place among the old Progressists, 
Narvaez among the Moderados, and O'Donnell 
among those who would call themselves Liberal 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



157 



Conservatives, or moderate Liberals. The more 
advanced Liberals always claimed Prim as their 
typical hero, and such in reality he was, though 
some men accused him of inconsistency for accept- 
ing the title of Count, while he professed ultra- 
democratic opinions. The marshal was very 
strongly addicted to the pleasures of the chase, for 
the gratification of which taste he kept up a mag- 
nificent house and establishment. 

In person he was considerably below the 
middle size, with a small and slender, but wiry 
and active frame, a lively intelligent countenance, 
with a very bad complexion. His eyes were large 
and expressive, his features tolerably regular, with 
no other marked peculiarity than the high cheek- 
bones. His manners were courteous and winning; 
his speech fluent, forcible, and not inelegant, both 
in his native language and in French. He was 
not a great genius, yet occupied a position very 
remarkable for a man of ordinary capacity. He 
was a good officer, possessing that valuable quality 
of bravery that increases as danger grows more 
imminent. His idea of government was to main- 
tain military order, and to leave the rest to his 
colleagues. The wants and grievances of Spain 
seemed to trouble him but little. He knew the 
limit of his own powers, and his ambition led him 
to make a king rather than be a king. His 
assassination was due, perhaps, as much to the 
popular hatred of a foreign monarch as to republi- 
can hatred of royalty. Anyhow it was a dastardly 
deed, disgraceful to the party by whom it was 
instigated or permitted. 

Meanwhile France, the greatest power among 
the Latin races, was successfully developing her 
material prosperity, if not her political institutions, 
under the rule of Napoleon III. We resume the 
thread of her history where we left it in Chapter III., 
namely, in the year 1860. The alliance of France 
and England continued to grow more close and 
friendly. The treaty of commerce successfully 
negotiated by Mr. Cobden gave the two nations a 
community of interests, and the feeling of amity 
was strengthened by certain joint expeditions of 
a warlike nature. In 1880 public attention in 
France was, for a time, diverted from the Italian 
question to events in the remote East. Notwith- 
standing the great distance of China from the West, 
that country has long enjoyed the advantages, 
or disadvantages, of foreign intervention. Unlike 
Mexico, it has no powerful and civilized neighbour 



jealous of European interference. Both China and 
Japan are in an unfortunate position in this re- 
spect. Possessing no effective means of resistance 
against the improved appliances of war and the 
training of the West, they have been unable to with- 
stand the imposition of treaties of trade, and have 
been compelled, in spite of themselves, to abandon 
their seclusion and open their ports to foreign 
commerce. Whatever good may eventually accrue 
by the opening of the country to Europeans, it 
is surely the right of the Chinese government to 
determine whether or not it is for the advantage 
of their country to open their doors to other 
nations. Before commercial interests, however, 
many scruples have to give way. The conduct 
of Europeans in China, and not least that of 
the English, cannot be regarded as free from 
violence and wrong. 

When a ratification of the treaty of Tientsin 
was refused, and the Chinese treacherously opened 
fire upon the English forces in time of peace, war 
was again declared by England and France against 
the government at Pekin. Two separate expe- 
ditions were organized without delay, General 
Montauban, afterwards created Comte de Palikao, 
commanding the French, and General Sir Hope 
Grant the English contingent. Baron Gros and 
Lord Elgin, the English and French ambassadors, 
suffered shipwreck on their voyage to China, and 
narrowly escaped with their lives. The allied 
forces opened the campaign with an attack on a 
fort at Tangku, which, after an assault, was entered 
by both armies at the same time. The Taku forts 
gallantly withstood an assault made by the French, 
and only yielded to a combined attack of both 
French and English, leaving the whole of their war 
material in the hands of the allies. The Chinese 
government then, as a pretext for delay, entered 
into negotiations for peace, but faithlessly seized the 
English commissioners, together with some other 
gentlemen, and subjected them to many indignities 
and cruelties. All negotiations were at once 
broken off, and the allied forces advanced into 
the country, overcoming all opposition, until they 
reached the neighbourhood of Pekin, which Lord 
Elgin threatened to storm unless his terms were 
acceded to. The Chinese evaded these demands, 
and the armies advanced, the French making their 
entry into the emperor's summer palace. The 
conquerors did not show the virtues of their supe- 
rior civilization in the face of a semi-barbarous 



158 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



enemy. The acts of the French troops recall the 
depredations of the early English navigators on the 
Spanish coast of America. The pillage was whole- 
sale, the destruction most wanton. The public 
reception hall, the state and private bedrooms, 
ante-rooms, boudoirs, and every other apartment, 
were ransacked ; articles of virtu, of native and 
foreign workmanship, taken or broken, if too large 
to be carried away ; ornamental lattice-work, 
screens, jade-stone ornaments, jars, clocks, watches, 
and other pieces of mechanism, curtains and furni- 
ture — none escaped destruction. There were ex- 
tensive wardrobes of every article of dress ; coats 
richly embroidered in silk and gold thread, in the 
imperial dragon pattern, boots, head-dresses, fans, 
&c, in fact, rooms all but filled with them, store- 
rooms of manufactured silk in rolls, all destroyed. 

The English followed the French, and in order 
to intimidate the Chinese, and to make it plain 
to them that their semi-barbarism gave them no 
advantage in the face of Western civilization, burnt 
the palace to the ground. The Chinese government, 
now convinced, against their will, of the useless- 
ness of further resistance, accepted the conditions 
offered by the allies. 

It deserves notice that the Emperor Napoleon, 
in his speech on the opening of the French Cham- 
bers in March, 1860, vindicated himself against the 
charge of meanness in exacting Nice and Savoy as 
the price of his aid to Italy. " Looking at the trans- 
formation of North Italy, which gives to a powerful 
state all the passes of the Alps, it was my duty, for 
the security of our frontiers, to claim the French 
slopes of the mountains. The re-assertion of a 
claim to a territory of small extent has nothing 
in it to alarm Europe, and give a denial to the 
policy of disinterestedness which I have proclaimed 
more than once; for France does not wish to 
proceed to this aggrandizement, however small 
it may be, either by military occupation, or by 
provoking insurrections, or by under-hand man- 
oeuvres, but by frankly explaining the question to 
the great powers. They will doubtless understand 
in their equity, as France would certainly under- 
stand it for each of them under similar circum- 
stances, that the important territorial re-arrangement 
which is about to take place, gives us a right to 
a guarantee indicated by nature herself." 

Neighbouring nations did not take the view of 
the annexation which the emperor would have 
had them take. But what could they say when 



an appeal to universal suffrage among the natives 
confirmed the annexation? 

Switzerland raised a feeble protest against the 
absorption of these provinces into the empire of 
France ; but she met with a response due to her 
weakness. About this time the massacre of Chris- 
tians in Syria by the Mohammedans called the atten- 
tion of the Western powers to that part of the world. 
Armed intervention was acknowledged to be the 
only effective means to quell the disturbances ; and 
a convention was signed by England and France, 
in virtue of which France, with the consent of 
Turkey, sent a brigade, under the command of 
General de Beaufort d'Hautpool, to the scene of 
disorder, in August, 1860. The appearance of the 
French flag speedily put an end to the evils under 
which the Cliristians were suffering. By the terms 
of the convention the time of the French occupa- 
tion had been fixed for six months. During this 
time it had been arranged, that a commission made 
up of representatives of France and England was 
to meet at Beyrout, and to concert measures for 
the maintenance of order, and the safety of the 
Christian inhabitants of Lebanon. The six months 
expired on the 3rd March, 1861, and in February 
the commissioners had not completed their labours. 
The English government was little disposed to 
favour an extension of the stay of the French 
brigade, but consented to a limited delay of 
four months. On the 5th July the French 
troops evacuated Syria. A good deal of ill-feeling 
was excited in France by the conduct of England 
in this matter. The French could not understand 
the jealousy with which their sole interference 
in the affairs of the East was regarded by English 
politicians. 

The French troops had hardly returned from 
Syria, when fresh employment was found for them 
in the Western hemisphere. For some years the 
internal affairs in Mexico had presented nothing 
but a scene of confusion. Eevolution succeeded 
revolution. Anarchy alone seemed to possess any 
stability. This state of things finally called for the 
intervention of those governments whose subjects 
had been the chief victims of the exactions of the 
various Mexican rulers. On the 10th November, 
1861, a convention was signed by France, Spain, 
and England, by which these powers agreed to 
demand by force of arms redress for their injured 
countrymen. This undertaking by no means met 
with universal approval in France. The French 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



159 



people had grown tired of distant campaigns, and 
showed small desire to have in America a pendant 
to the wars in Asia. The successes of the French 
army in Cochin China, where some few thousand 
men strove bravely against superior numbers and 
the dangers of the climate, for the sake of establish- 
ing a French colony, had not been received with 
general approbation. It was felt that the losses 
and the expenses of the expedition would far 
exceed any substantial gain, and the imperial 
government was accused of being swayed too 
easily by the national taste for military affairs. 
It was thought, moreover, unwise to create com- 
plications in America, when so many beset the 
very borders of France. 

At the time the allied expedition set out, 
Juarez, the chief of the liberal party, held the 
reins of power. The intentions of the European 
governments, as officially declared, were "to compel 
Mexico to fulfil the obligations already solemnly 
contracted, and to give a guarantee of a more 
efficient protection for the persons and property 
of their respective countrymen ; " but the allied 
powers declined any intervention in the domestic 
affairs of the country, and especially any exercise 
of pressure on the will of the population with' 
regard to their choice of a government. The first 
act of the allies was to sign a convention with 
Juarez at La Soledad, confirming the president's 
authority. The allied forces were allowed, during 
the progress of negotiations, to occupy the towns 
of Cordova, Orizaba, and Tehuacan, places favour- 
able to the health of the soldiers, while the Mexican 
flag, which had been lowered at the approach of 
the allies, was allowed to float over Vera Cruz. 
England, abandoning all intention of advancing 
into the country, ratified the signature of its pleni- 
potentiary. Spain, though not giving up the 
enterprise so readily, did not disavow the signature 
of General Prim. France, however, declared boldly 
that she could not accept the convention of La Sole- 
dad, which was "counter to the national dignity." 

This step of the French government at once 
roused the suspicion that its interference in Mexi- 
can affairs was prompted by other considerations 
than the simple interests of Frenchmen residing in 
Mexico. As soon as the Spanish and English 
realized the awkwardness of their position, their 
only anxiety was not to let slip any opportunity 
of breaking with their ally. A pretext soon 
came. Among the French staff had come a 



Mexican exile, by name Almonte, who was an 
object of suspicion to Juarez on account of his 
monarchical opinions. Juarez demanded his sur- 
render as a traitor, and was supported in his 
demands by England. The French could not in 
honour, even if they had been willing, listen to a 
demand of this kind. The result of this difference 
was that the French, about 5000 in number, were 
left alone, while the English and Spaniards re- 
turned to Europe together. Hostilities soon broke 
out, and an attempt made by the French to take 
Puebla signally failed. In the winter of 1862, 
however, General Forey arrived with 30,000 men, 
captured that city, and then marched to Mexico, 
where he met with no opposition. The programme 
of French policy was now fully declared, and the 
Archduke Maximilian of Austria was announced as 
a candidate for the throne of Mexico at the instiga- 
tion of the church or reactionist paTty, whose motto, 
" God and order," was opposed to that of the 
liberals or Juarists, " Liberty and independence." 

Maximilian, on receiving the offer of the sceptre 
of Mexico, hesitated long ere he yielded to the per- 
suasions of the Mexican commissioners, backed by 
the French cabinet. His acceptance of the throne 
took place on April 10, 1864, and was followed by 
the treaty of Miramar, concluded between him and 
France, which bound the latter power to maintain a 
military force in Mexico on certain settled conditions. 
By the beginning of the year 1865, thanks to 
General Bazaine's zeal and activity, Mexico, for the 
first time since its independence, was almost at 
peace. A national army had been organized; im- 
portant towns had been put into a state of defence, 
so far as earthworks and guns availed for that end, 
and the various government factories of arms had 
been re-organized and refurnished. Could Maxi- 
milian have insured the continued presence of a 
European force, his plans might have been carried 
out to a successful issue, and order established in 
Mexico on a firm basis; but, unfortunately, he 
soon discovered the futility of single attempts to 
ameliorate the condition of a degenerate people. 
Wherever the French troops put down opposition, 
and confided their conquests to Mexican troops, 
liberals would immediately reappear in arms and 
retake their old positions. Not till the end of 
1865 was Juarez, who still styled himself the 
president of the republic, at length subdued. He 
was driven from Chihuahua, the last stronghold of 
the liberal cause, into the territory of the United 



160 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



States. The spring of 1866, however, opened 
unhappily on the new empire. Its resources were 
not equal to the strain of constant warfare, and 
the troops, not receiving their pay, resumed their 
more natural character of marauders. The im- 
perial finances fell into such a critical position, 
that Bazaine took upon himself to advance Maxi- 
milian money, to the no small displeasure of 
the cabinet of the Tuileries. In fact, the govern- 
ment and people of France were beginning to 
regret their share in the founding of the new 
Mexican empire. The French people, who had 
been induced by the statements of the minis- 
ters to take up two Mexican loans, had gra- 
dually been enlightened as to the real state of 
matters, both military and political, in Mexico. 
Other causes influenced the French government. 
On the one hand, events happened in Germany in 
1866 that made France anxious to have all her avail- 
able strength within reach; and, on the other, the 
United States' government had informed the French 
cabinet, even in 1864, that the unanimous feeling 
of the American people was opposed to the recog- 
nition of a monarchy in Mexico. As time wore 
on, and the Washington government had more 
leisure for external affairs, they expressed them- 
selves in more decided terms. To a note addressed 
to the Tuileries in December, 1865, the French 
government was constrained to answer that it 
was disposed to hasten as much as possible the 
recall of its troops from Mexico. Emboldened 
his success, Mr. Seward, the American minister, 
on the 12th February, 1866, worded a still more 
pressing message, the rudeness of which was very 
galling to French dignity. Mr. Seward, however, 
gained the day, and the emperor agreed to make 
arrangements for the withdrawal of the French 
troops from Mexico, a step that would leave 
Maximilian to his own resources, by the autumn 
of 1867. 

Bazaine had the unpleasant task of communi- 
cating his orders to Maximilian. The return of 
Almonte, whom the emperor had sent to Napoleon 
to endeavour to procure fairer terms, and on whose 
embassy both he and the empress had built great 
hopes, in nowise changed the aspect of affairs. 
The imperial family naturally complained of the 
breach of faith on the part of France. Maximilian 
asserted that he had been tricked; that a formal 
convention had been entered into between the 
Emperor Napoleon and himself, which guaranteed 



the assistance of the French troops till the end of 
the year 1868. He felt that but one course was 
left for him. On July 7 he took pen in hand 
to sign his abdication. The empress, however, 
prevailed ■ on him to delay this step till she had 
tried in her own person to gain a favourable hear- 
ing from the ruler of the destinies of France. 
With this design the Empress Charlotte landed 
in France on the 18th August, 1866, and hastened 
to Paris, where her success was as small as might 
have been expected. Napoleon tried to evade 
giving her an audience; but her entreaties were 
so passionate that he was compelled at last to 
give way. The answer she received crushed all 
her hopes, and completely unhinged the poor 
lady's mind. In the meantime the dissolution of 
the Mexican empire went on. Maximilian per- 
haps hastened its pace, by leaving the party which 
had supported liim, because it was the French 
party, and by selecting his cabinet from the 
extreme clerical party. The effect was to imme- 
diately increase the growing disaffection. On 
December 1, 1866, Maximilian further crippled 
himself by signing a convention extorted by 
France, by which half the proceeds of the custom- 
houses of Vera Cruz and Tampico were assigned 
to France in payment of her debt. The evacua- 
tion of Mexico by the French troops was the 
signal for risings and desertions. To the trouble 
of his empire was added the anguish caused by 
the intelligence of his wife's illness. He then 
recurred to his former purpose, and prepared to 
leave for Europe; but the members of the extreme 
clerical party prevailed on him, by offers of active 
support in money and men, to change his inten- 
tion and return to Mexico. The clerical party 
kept their promises; but their measures excited 
the opposition of almost every class in the country 
but the priests. The French withdrew from 
Mexico even before the time announced to the 
United States as the term of the French occupa- 
tion, exacting from their unfortunate protege 
heavy pecuniary claims ere they left him. Bereft 
of every aid save that of native Mexicans, Maxi- 
milian's empire quickly fell. His troops, which 
the presence of French soldiers had not been 
sufficient to keep in thorough subordination, 
yielded everywhere to the successful liberals. 
Town after town fell into the hands of Juarez 
or of his generals. On the 19th June, 1867, the 
final act of the tragedy was played, Maximilian, 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



161 



who liad foolishly left Mexico for Queretaro, an 
unfortified town, fell into the hands of Juarez, 
was tried by court martial, and by the president's 
orders condemned to be shot. This heinous 
crime was not without excuse. The refusal of 
the imperialists in Mexico to look upon Juarez in 
any other light than as a guerilla chief in rebellion, 
naturally exasperated the feelings of the liberals, 
who, as events showed, possessed the sympathies 
of the majority of the Mexican nation. Juarez 
was, as he persisted in proclaiming himself, presi- 
dent of the Eepublic. A decree of Maximilian's 
issued in October, 1865, had excited feelings of 
revenge, for it declared that execution awaited 
every man taken in arms against the emperor, and 
by virtue of it Generals Arteaga and Salazzar 
were executed. A few days after Maximilian's 
death Mexico capitulated; and on the 27th June 
Vera Cruz was occupied, as the last of the foreign 
troops were embarking. Thus the attempt to 
establish monarchical government in Mexico ended 
in a failure, of which one of the terrible conse- 
quences was the cruel death of a distinguished 
representative of one of the noblest families in 
Europe. His tragical end, and the scarcely less 
mournful fate of his brave and amiable consort, 
must ever remain a dark stain on the history of 
the second French empire. 

Both the military and the political prestige of 
Napoleon III. were dimmed by the melancholy 
issue of the Mexican expedition. Complications, 
too, in other quarters troubled him. His relations 
with Italy were not the least embarrassing. Com- 
mitted to the support of the political unity of Italy, 
he was yet fully aware that the critical position of 
the pope, in regard to his temporal power, exas- 
perated the Catholic feeling in France. The clergy 
gave the signal of opposition, and seized every 
opportunity to hamper the imperial government. 
In fact, the policy of the French cabinet, like most 
temporizing measures, was pleasing to hardly any 
party, either in France or Italy. The friends of 
Italy in France demanded the recall of the French 
troops from Rome, while the opposite party still 
more vehemently urged an energetic intervention 
in favour of the pope and the dispossessed Italian 
sovereigns. The emperor had no easy task in 
mediating between these two extremes. It was 
not without hesitation and delay that the emperor 
had recognized Victor Emanuel as king of Italy. 
In notifying this determination to the cabinet at 



Turin, the imperial government declared that it 
declined beforehand every responsibility in enter- 
prises likely to disturb the peace of Europe ; and 
that the French troops would continue the occu- 
pation of Rome until the interests which had brought 
them there were covered by sufficient guarantees. 
The recognition of the kingdom of Italy put an end 
to many doubts and uncertainties. Diplomatic 
relations were renewed with Turin, where M. Bene- 
detti was accredited in quality of minister plenipo- 
tentiary. The principal difficulty was, however, 
with Rome. On the 28 th May, the ambassadors of 
Spain and Austria had addressed joint despatches 
to offer the aid of their governments, should France 
think the opportunity a fit one, to unite the efforts 
of the Catholic powers in securing the pope's 
temporal power. This proposition rested on the 
assumption that Rome was the property of Catho- 
licism/and that its sovereignty could not be placed 
under the protection of any but the spiritual head 
of the Catholic church. The French minister of 
foreign affairs evaded the difficulties raised by this 
step of Spain and Austria, by declaring that the 
French government, in its general policy towards 
Italy, would not join any combination that would 
be incompatible with its respect for the dignity 
and independence of the papacy. For that answer 
the Italians expressed themselves grateful, and the 
Catholic party could offer no further opposition to 
French policy. 

Napoleon addressed excellent advice to the pope ; 
but his holiness was not of a character amenable to 
any advice that clashed with his cherished opin- 
ions. " The Holy Father," he said, " cannot con- 
sent to anything which, either directly or indirectly, 
ratifies in any manner the spoliation of which he 
has been the victim." The Gordian knot which 
diplomatists were endeavouring slowly to untie, 
Garibaldi resolved to cut with the sword, by the 
expedition already described, that terminated so 
unfortunately for him at Aspromonte. It was 
on the 15th September, 1864, that Napoleon 
signed, with the Italian government, the treaty 
which is known as the September Convention, the 
articles of which were as follows: — 1st, Italy en- 
gaged not to attack the papal dominions, and to 
prevent even, by force, eveTy attack upon the said 
territory coming from without. 2nd, France agreed 
gradually to withdraw her army from the pontifical 
states in proportion as the pope's army should be 
organized. The evacuation, nevertheless, was to 



162 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



be accomplished within the space of two years. 
3rd, The Italian government undertook to raise 
no protest against the organization of a papal army, 
even if composed of foreign Catholic volunteers, 
sufficing to maintain the integrity of the frontier 
of the papal states, provided that the force should 
not degenerate into a means of attack against the 
Italian government. 4th, Italy declared herself ready 
to enter into an arrangement to take the burden of a 
proportionate part of the debt of the former states 
of the church. 

In accordance with the terms of this convention, 
on the 11th December, 1866, the French troops 
left Rome for Civita Vecchia, and embarked for 
France. The Italians soon began to exhibit signs 
of impatience at the restraint diplomacy had put 
on their movements. Insurrectionary committees 
were formed throughout Italy, with no attempt at 
repression on the part of the government. Men 
were openly enlisted by them. Eatazzi, the Italian 
minister, at length bestirred himself to check any 
measures the Italian nation might take without the 
sanction of the government. Garibaldi was arrested 
on his way to the papal frontier. Everywhere, 
however, and from all classes, Garibaldi received 
an ovation, while Eatazzi met with proportionate 
disfavour. Bowing to this expression of the popular 
will, he allowed Garibaldi to return to Caprera. 
He endeavoured to palliate his conduct to the 
French ambassador by intimating to him that 
Garibaldi had given it to be understood that he 
would not leave his island again without the per- 
mission of the Italian government — a statement 
that was denied by Garibaldi as soon as it reached 
his ears. At the request of Victor Emanuel, 
Napoleon, who had ordered the French fleet to 
return to Italy, rescinded his order. Garibaldi, 
meantime, contrived in a small boat to pass the 
ships set to watch Caprera, and getting on board 
an American vessel, landed on the continent. 
He made no secret of his design, but publicly 
harangued the populace at Florence. Eejecting 
the advice offered him by General Cialdini, he set 
out in a special train for the frontier. His presence 
soon united the scattered elements of disaffec- 
tion; and entering the papal dominions, on the 
25th October he gave battle to 3000 pontifical 
troops, whom he defeated, at Monte Eotondo. His 
aim was to push on to Eome without delay, and get 
possession of the city by a coup de main, before 
the arrival of the French troops. His plan was 



frustrated, however, by the resistance he met with 
from the pope's forces. The French army, which 
on the receipt of the intelligence of Garibaldi's 
escape from Caprera had at once embarked for 
Italy, landed at Civita Vecchia on the 29th October, 
and hastened to the scene of action. This second 
occupation of Eome by foreigners sorely wounded 
Italian pride ; and Menabrea, the general of the 
regular Italian army, was ordered to enter the 
pontifical states. Commands were issued to Gari- 
baldi, at the same time, to fall behind the royal 
lines. In carrying out this order, Garibaldi, 
with 5000 men, was attacked on the 3rd November 
at Mentana, by 3000 of the papal soldiers, and 
2000 French, under the command of Generals 
Kanzler and Polhes. The fight lasted four hours. 
At night, so little was known for certain of the 
issue of the engagement, that fresh troops were 
sent from Eome. A little later, however, Mentana 
capitulated, and Garibaldi, leaving 500 dead on 
the field and 1600 prisoners in the hands of 
his opponents, effected his retreat into Italian 
territory, and surrendered with his followers to 
General Eicotti, by whom he was sent to Fort 
Varignano, near Spezzia. He was soon after 
allowed to return once more to Caprera. The vic- 
tory of Mentana was in a great measure due to the 
fact that the French contingent was armed with 
Chassepot rifles. The advantage the possession of 
this weapon gave may be estimated by the fact 
that the Garibaldians left 600 dead and 200 wounded 
behind them, while the French losses amounted to 
only two men killed and thirty-six wounded. The 
pope's soldiers lost twenty men killed and had 
123 wounded. After the episode of Mentana the 
Italians made no further attempt forcibly to dis- 
possess the pope of his temporal power, but resigned 
themselves to the tedious ways of diplomacy. The 
only consequence of Garibaldi's efforts in 1867 was 
that the French tricolor again waved over Italian 
soil. 

In the rest of Europe France had not played 
the high-handed part she did in Italy. The year 
1863 witnessed an act of Napoleon which deserves 
mention, notwithstanding its failure, as giving 
signs of a wiser policy than had hitherto prevailed 
in European councils. The emperor issued to the 
various sovereigns of Europe letters of invitation 
to a congress, at which all the questions that were 
filling the minds of politicians with anxiety were 
i to be settled, and tottering peace established on 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



163 



a surer basis. While the embers of war were 
smouldering, and before they had kindled into a 
blaze, Napoleon hoped by an appeal of this nature 
to stay a conflagration of which he could see the 
disastrous effects. It seemed, too, reasonable to 
expect that the patching up of continually widening 
rents in the old treaties, or their recasting, which 
would have to follow a war, could be done better 
and with a greater hope of durability than if the 
work were left till conflict had exasperated the 
tempers of nations. To the surprise of France 
the first refusal, not too courteously expressed, 
of the emperor's proposal came from England, and 
produced a soreness in the relations between the 
two countries. The example of England was 
soon followed, on various pretexts, by the other 
great powers. The good intentions of the French 
emperor were not questioned by any, as every 
minister in his reply took pains to assure him, but 
doubts were freely expressed as to any substantial 
results of the congress. Moreover, Napoleon was 
informed that no state could allow a representative 
to take part in any proceedings without a previous 
knowledge of the questions to be discussed, and 
their proposed settlements. 

The idea of French intervention in Poland had 
been found impracticable. The insurrection which 
broke out in that country in 1863 was suppressed 
by the Russian government with great harshness. 
Sympathy for the cause of the Poles was pretty 
general, but in France great indignation was 
expressed at the treatment they were receiving 
at the hands of their conquerors. The French 
government was ready to go to war for Poland, 
if they could have secured the co-operation of 
England and Austria. A proposal was, in fact, 
made to these countries to form an alliance with 
France, for the purpose of obtaining in concert 
from Russia some guarantees for the better regula- 
tion of Polish affairs. The diplomatic methods 
were first to be followed, and if these did not 
succeed other means were to be resorted to. No 
country except France, however, was prepared 
to go this length, and the emperor's proposal was 
declined, though each of the three powers made 
separate representations to Russia, couched in simi- 
lar terms. They severally asked Russia to agree 
to an armistice, that negotiations might be entered 
into with a view of restoring order in the insurgent 
provinces, and thus great bloodshed be stayed. 
Russia replied with an absolute refusal. She 



would not recognize the right of any other nation 
to offer advice, or interfere in any manner with 
her internal policy, and pursued the strong 
measures which had called forth their remon- 
strances, with no less harshness than before. 

The year 1866 was an eventful year, and full of 
serious import for all countries in Europe; but 
nowhere did the circumstances that took place in 
Germany attract more attention than they did in 
France. The settlement of the question of the 
duchies of the Elbe, about which Austria and 
Prussia had fought side by side two years before, 
attracted the attention of France in the beginning 
of 1866 to Germany. The conduct of Prussia 
in this affair, and the consequences to the peace 
of Europe that many foreboded from it, added to 
ignorance of the policy likely to be pursued by 
the government in the expected crisis, created 
great uneasiness amongst all classes in France. 
The mercantile world suffered a panic from this 
general feeling of insecurity. The funds and 
personal securities were affected to as great an 
extent as if France herself had been at war. When, 
later in the year, the worst anticipations were 
realized, and the six weeks' war between the lead- 
ing powers of Germany was waged, the feeling of 
anxiety and alarm was not lessened by the success 
of Prussia. With the exception of the actors in 
this event, no country felt the effects of the victory 
of Prussia so much as France. For when the 
North German Confederation became nominally a 
league of independent states, but really an empire 
of which Prussia held the entire control, the posi- 
tion of ascendancy in Europe that France had so 
long occupied was shaken. In face of the new 
power, which had shown itself possessed of such 
capital military organization, and had evinced such 
ability in conducting the operations of war, the 
French people began to feel distrust in the capacity 
of the imperial government to vindicate the interests 
of their country. Suspicions, indeed, floated about, 
that the neutrality of France in the struggle 
between Austria and Prussia had been bought 
with a promise that was not to be fulfilled. 
The price was even hinted at. There was to be, 
so went the rumours, a rectification of the frontier 
at the expense of either Germany or Belgium. 
The emperor was believed to have been over- 
reached, and to have been unable to get the 
compensation, whatever it was, which Prussia had 
engaged to give. Thiers did not hesitate to 



164 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



upbraid the government for its tolerance of 
Prussia's acts. This statesman's patriotism, which 
objected to the unity of Italy, would have had 
France oppose by force the amalgamation into one 
nation of the separate and independent states be- 
yond the Ehine. Now that Germany had achieved 
her unity, with the co-operation of the emperor, as 
he said, Thiers pressed upon the government the 
adoption of a firm policy, supported by a vigorous 
organization of the military forces of France. It 
was in vain that the emperor by his despatches 
tried to reassure the people of the unaltered posi- 
tion of their country. Popular opinion was on 
the side of Thiers. With the intent to inspire the 
people with greater confidence, a new map of 
Europe was published in 1868, under the auspices 
of the government. In this map was shown how 
France in resources and population still surpassed 
Germany, after all the changes that had taken 
place in that country. Had only these resources 
been handled with ability and honesty, France 
would, indeed, have had no just cause for fear. 

The ill-gotten power which Napoleon had 
wielded for eighteen years in France and Europe 
was evidently on the wane, and he cast about 
anxiously for an opportunity of re-establishing his 
authority, if he could not recover his fame for 
successful cleverness. Germany, the object of 
such burning jealousy ever since Sadowa, offered 
itself as a field for some striking warlike achieve- 
ment. France has been an evil neighbour to 
Germany for nearly 400 years, says an eminent 
writer. All readers of history know what a per- 
sistent spirit of universal aggression and dictation 
set in with the ministry of Richelieu and the 
reign of Louis XIV. Both the Napoleons upheld 
France's right to give law to Europe. Details of 
the negotiations between England and France 
in 1831 and in 1840, prove that under the 
Orleanists and the peace-loving monarch, Louis 
Philippe, the encroaching and dictatorial spirit of 
the nation was as rampant and ingrained as ever. 
The whole life of M. Thiers, an eminently repre- 
sentative man, a typical Frenchmen; all his writ- 
ings, all his speeches, every action of his ministerial 
career, have been inspired by this spirit, and have 
breathed the pretension, that France's voice ought 
to be, and must be made, paramount in determin- 
ing all political and international arrangements, 
and that no other nation must be suffered to grow 
strong lest France should grow relatively weak. 



The unfortunate Prevost Paradol, also a leading 
spirit among the better class of Frenchmen, in the 
last melancholy chapter of his " France Nouvelle,' 
warned his countrymen in the most solemn manner, 
that the unity of Germany, if once accomplished, 
would be the fall and humiliation of France; that 
talent, literature, the graces and the pleasures of 
existence, might still remain to her, but that life, 
power, splendour, and glory would be gone. At 
the unification of Germany France would disappear 
from the political scene. 

The Great Frederick of Prussia, wrote one of 
the most moderate of French organs of public 
opinion after Sadowa, perfectly comprehended that 
the expansive force of France was turned to the 
side of Germany. " France," said he, " is bounded 
on the west by the Pyrenees, which separate it 
from Spain, and form a barrier which nature her- 
self has placed there. The ocean serves as a 
boundary on the north of France, the Mediter- 
ranean and the Alps on the south. But on the 
east France has no other limits than those of its 
own moderation and justice. Alsace and Lorraine, 
dismembered from the empire, have carried to 
the Ehine the frontier line of the domination of 
France." That this, continues the French writer, 
the only side on which, according to Frederick, 
we are not suffocated by the obstacle of a natural 
barrier, should be closed upon us by the mass 
of an enormous state, is a fact so contrary to all 
our national existence, and to the natural constitu- 
tion of France, that it is impossible that French 
bosoms should not be oppressed by it. The idea 
of suffocation is very characteristic of the excit- 
able French mind. England has to endure being 
suffocated by ocean all round her, and content her- 
self with expansion in colonies and dependencies. 
Italy is equally shut in by the Alps ; Spain by the 
Pyrenees. But France, like a steam-boiler, must 
have an open valve — must have the means of ex- 
pansion ; and the spirit of colonisation is not in 
her people. 

The emperor had carefully watched the develop- 
ment in the national mind of that alarmed jealousy 
of French ascendancy which had been at work 
ever since 1866. The completeness and unex- 
pectedness of the Prussian victories in the war 
waged by King William with the rest of Germany, 
had been fondly attributed to the destructive power 
of the needle-gun. The emperor, therefore, not 
only gave the French army a more deadly weapon 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



165 



in the Cliassepot rifle, the arm that was used with 
such fatal effect at Mentana, but applied his own 
special knowledge of artillery to the invention of a 
still more formidable engine of destruction, since 
known to the world as the mitrailleuse. Armed 
with this new man-slayer he might, he thought, 
defy the German, and he waited for a convenient 
moment to throw down the gauntlet and fight for 
ascendancy in Europe. Meanwhile, to pacify men's 
minds at home, and perhaps to conceal the real 
tendency of his foreign policy, he suddenly in 
December, 1869, announced his intention of aban- 
doning the personal government which he had 
maintained so long, in exchange for a Parliamentary 
system that would make the ministers of the crown 
responsible for their measures to the Chambers, and 
not to the emperor personally. More than once 
before had Napoleon shown a desire to relax the 
restrictions of various kinds with which his reign 
had been inaugurated, but his hand had always been 
held back by those partisans who had risen to power 
with him, who feared to loose their hold from the 
necks of the people, who were more Bonapartist 
than the Bonapartes, more imbued with Cassarism 
than Caasar himself. Let every reader remember, 
as he reads the following pages, that Napoleon 
III. was no longer an exile, seeing public affairs 
with disabused eyes ; but a man whose high station 
and considerable power tempted the designing to 
keep him, for their own selfish interests, in ignor- 
ance of much that was going on around him. The 
more blind they could keep him, the easier for 
them was it to work out their own ends. His 
bad health and undecided will favoured then: 
narrow unpatriotic conduct. Even when he con- 
ceived a project evidently safe and calculated to 
prove beneficial to the country, his ministers, the 
instruments of his will, as they were supposed to 
be, took care to pare down every concession to the 
tone of their own minds, and to the level of their 
own interests. Such is the inevitable result of 
personal government. 

Whether this truth had impressed itself on the 
emperor's mind, or no, is not in evidence. Certain 
it is, however, that two days after the Christmas- 
day of 1869, the imperial cabinet was dissolved, 
and a letter from the emperor was published, 
inviting M. Emile Ollivier, an eloquent liberal and 
opposition member of the Chamber, to aid in the 
task his Majesty had undertaken, to bring into regu- 
lar working a constitutional system. There were 



not unnatural suspicions in the public mind, that 
the emperor by this step meant rather to give the 
semblance than the substance of liberty to his 
subjects ; that though he might govern under 
changed forms, he would govern all the same. 
Had he been sincerely converted to the theory 
of constitutional government, it was thought the 
direction of the new ministry would have been 
confided to the one man in the Assembly who had 
more talent, political knowledge, and parliamentary 
experience than any of his colleagues — M. Thiers. 
This veteran statesman had for six years occupied 
a seat in the Legislative Assembly of the second 
empire, where, by dint of skilful debating and 
attractive oratory, he had succeeded in forming 
an opposition to the imperial cabinet which, if 
not very formidable, was far from despicable. Its 
influence in the country was undoubtedly greater 
than its influence in the Chamber, where a majority 
of imperial nominees did all that could be done to 
stifle discussion. 

In M. Emile Ollivier, a man of unquestioned 
ability, the emperor expected doubtless to find a 
more pliable and manageable minister than he 
would have had in the ex-premier of Louis Philippe, 
and his Majesty was not disappointed. One great 
blot of the old system was the injurious pressure 
by prefects and other officials at the election of 
deputies, in favour of government candidates. The 
liberal party in the Chamber disputed the validity 
of these elections, and attempted to exclude the 
deputies so returned from the Assembly. M. 
Ollivier, after his appointment to office, forgetful 
of his liberal creed, instead of supporting his 
old friends in carrying out this purification 
of the Chamber, voted with the government 
majority that confirmed the election of all 
the official candidates, with the solitary excep- 
tion of one, thus rendering the verification of 
returns as mere a form as it had been in the worst 
days of personal government. Conduct like this 
alienated many supporters from the new minister, 
and excited general suspicion. He found a diffi- 
culty in forming a respectable cabinet, and was, it 
has been conjectured, compelled to promise specific 
measures of reform, electoral and other, in order 
to induce men like Count Daru and M. Buffet 
to accept portfolios. The experiment of a consti- 
tutional empire, a compromise between personal 
government and a republic, was not without its 
perils. The emperor, though disposed to give it a 



166 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



fair trial, had himself no faith in the system, and 
unless his ministers could show that they were 
backed by the majority of the people of France, he 
would in all likelihood resume the power of which 
he had lately, by his own free will, relieved himself. 

The position of the new ministry was beset by 
an unexpected difficulty, in an incident that re- 
flected much discredit on the Bonaparte family, 
and rendered it the object of intense hatred among 
the extreme republicans. Two or three journalists, 
including M. Victor Noir, belonging to that party, 
feeling offended by a letter that Prince Pierre Bona- 
parte had written, called at that gentleman's house 
for the purpose of obtaining an explanation. In 
the interview and altercation which ensued M. 
Victor Noir was shot dead by the prince, and the 
other journalists fled from the room. That a savage 
act of this kind should be committed by a relation 
of the emperor's, however distant, was enough to 
serve the purpose of agitators who were greedy for 
opportunities of attacking the empire. M. Ollivier, 
as minister of justice, at once announced that a 
high court of justice would be assembled at Tours 
to try the Prince Pierre for the crime with which 
he was charged. There was no truckling to the 
emperor in that matter. On the other hand, the 
law had to vindicate itself against the violent and 
unconstitutional language of the extreme republi- 
cans. M. Bochefort, a friend and fellow-journalist 
of Victor Noir's, and a member of the Chamber, 
was tried for libel. If the ministers acted without 
fear of the emperor, they also acted without fear 
of the mob. These were symptoms of success in 
the constitutional experiment. The firm attitude 
of the government overawed the would-be rioters 
who followed Victor Noir's remains to the grave, 
and the demonstration which was planned lor the 
day of the funeral ended in the bloodless discom- 
fiture of Bochefort and his red republicans. The 
preservation of order, the repression of violent 
revolution, was, indeed, the only thing now that 
inspired devotion to Bonapartism. The glory of 
the first empire, and of its warlike founder, had 
at length lost its glamour, and well would it have 
been for Prance if Napoleon III. had thoroughly 
understood this fact. 

Early in February there was a foolish outbreak 
of democrats, headed by Gustave Flourens, which 
aimed at the release of M. Bochefort from prison. 
It had the effect of keeping Paris uneasy for three 
days, but in all other respects was harmless; for 



although six hundred persons were arrested, the 
greater number of them were speedily released. 

As the year advanced it seemed to grow more 
evident, from speeches of Count Daru and M. Olli- 
vier, that the emperor had adopted the constitu- 
tional system in all sincerity. The time had at 
last arrived, as people thought, for the long pro- 
mised "crowning of the edifice" of government 
with liberty. But the emperor found it easier to 
humble himself before the force of circumstances 
than to humble some of his servants, and had no 
small difficulty in inducing the Senate to adopt with 
him " all the reforms demanded by the constitu- 
tional government of the empire." It is possible 
that his faith in parliamentary rule was no stronger 
than of yore, and that he had determined to give it a 
trial under a conviction that it would fail, and per- 
sonal government again become necessary. Any- 
how, a suspicion of this kind was engendered in 
the minds of some leading politicians on the pub- 
cation of the senatus consultum at the end of 
March. In this document the imperial govern- 
ment declared that " the constitution cannot be 
modified except by the people on the proposition 
of the emperor." The emperor was evidently 
determined to maintain and extend that untrust- 
worthy political instrument, the plebiscitum. The 
senatus consultum further limited the succession 
to the throne, and provided for an election by the 
people in case of failure of heirs. It vested the 
government of the country in the emperor, his 
ministers, the Council of State, the Senate, and the 
Corps Legislatif — the last two assemblies sharing 
with the emperor the power of legislation. The 
emperor was made responsible before the French 
people, to whom he had the right to appeal, his 
prerogatives being those of chief of the state. His 
ministers were held responsible to the Chambers, 
of which they were members ej; officio. The char- 
acter of the Senate was considerably changed, and 
the power given to it in 1852 nearly all transferred 
to the lower house, the Legislative Assembly. To 
the surprise of every one who believed in the good 
faith with which these advances to constitutional 
freedom had been made, a week had barely elapsed 
from the publication of the senatus consultum, 
when the emperor revealed his determination at 
once to put in practice the principle he had pro- 
mulgated of his right to appeal to the people. 
Bepresentative government was at once discredited. 
Besponsible ministers were treated as puppets, and 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



167 



their legislative labours as toys to be cast to the 
variable winds of a popular vote. The emperor 
apparently had resolved to show the Chambers 
that there was a power superior to them in the 
country, which he could use whenever he chose. 
What use in legislating for reform, or anything 
else, if laws, when passed by the Assembly and the 
Senate, could be reversed by a plebiscitum; for the 
minister of the Interior, with the army of prefects 
and local officials at his command, could always 
insure that the vote should be agreeable to the 
emperor. How the consent of any of the ministers 
to this self-stultifying resolution was obtained can 
only be conjectured. Certain it is that two of 
the most eminent amongst them, the minister for 
Foreign Affairs, Count Daru, and M. Buffet, the 
minister of Public Instruction, resigned office. 
The Chamber seemed to accept the slight it had 
received with perfect humility, and an entire sense 
of its own insignificance; for on a hint from M. 
Ollivier that it might be in the way during the 
plebiscitary period, it adjourned, abnegating its 
functions at the most critical moment of a parlia- 
mentary crisis. Personal government was, in fact, 
restored under the vain show of parliamentary forms. 

On the 23rd of April a decree, written, it is said, 
by the emperor's own hand, was issued, convoking 
the French nation for the 8th of May in their 
comitia, to accept or reject the following plebisci- 
tum: — " The people approve the liberal reforms 
effected in the constitution since 1860 by the 
emperor, with the co-operation of the great bodies 
of the state, and ratifies the senatus consultum of 
the 20th of April, 1870." The votes were to be 
simply " Aye " or " No," and the manifesto was to 
be sent to every voter, who would learn, probably 
for the first time — such was the political ignorance 
of the majority of the population — that the consti- 
tution had undergone a change, and that Napoleon 
was the author of what was good in that change. 
Thus the usage of parliamentary government, that 
the sovereign should not speak in his own name of 
political matters, but by the mouth of a responsible 
minister, was unceremoniously ignored. The voters 
would be led to the polling booths like flocks of 
sheep, to vote as they were told, and practically to 
restore their " saviour of society " to undisputed 
autocratic power. 

This series of contradictory transactions, so per- 
plexing to ordinary observers, was very character- 
istic of Napoleon III., who was always feeling his 



way and making tentative experiments. The truth 
seems to be that the emperor and the imperialists 
had been considerably alarmed at the success of 
the liberals at the elections in the autumn of 1869, 
and had made these proposals for a representative 
government under the influence of fear ; but as soon 
as they discovered that the liberals, after all, formed 
only a minority that might safely be disregarded, 
they took measures to retrace their steps, and 
applied the plebiscitum as a test of their strength. 
The emperor, in a proclamation, clearly refused to 
recognize the acts of the Assembly as the acts of 
the people. " I believe," he said, " that everything 
done without you is illegitimate." Representation, 
delegation of power, was not, in his opinion, good 
for the people, who, to the number of eight mil- 
lions, were called upon to give a direct vote; a 
vote, too, that should show by a large majority how 
strong the government was in the popular esteem. 
Virtually the vote to be taken was for the emperor 
and personal government, against the liberals and 
parliamentary government. In point of numbers 
there was no doubt on which side the majority 
would be, but the minority would include nearly 
all the intelligence and political honesty of the 
country. M. Ollivier, whom Guizot styled " a 
practical Lamartine," cruelly betrayed the cause 
of liberalism when he consented to remain in 
office and promulgate the plebiscitum. Had he 
joined Count Daru and M. Buffet, the whole 
cabinet would have resigned, and the emperor 
would have given way rather than face such a 
crisis. On the 29th of April the French police 
discovered, or professed to have discovered, a 
plot against the life of the emperor. Many 
people were sceptical as to the genuineness of 
this conspiracy, believing it to be a theatrical 
invention to prepare the popular mind for the 
plebiscitum of the 8th of May, by exciting horror 
of the bloodthirsty projects of the revolutionists, 
and sympathy for the person of the emperor. The 
result of the voting on that day was 7,138,367 Ayes, 
against 1,518,385 Noes. In the towns the majority 
was generally against the emperor, and a still more 
ominous preponderance of Noes came from some of 
the garrisons. To a man in the position of the 
emperor, dependent as he was upon the army, 
this partial defection of the troops ' was food for 
very serious reflection. These men had not of late 
been coaxed and petted, and their humour had 
been soured by the addition to their numbers of 



168 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



men from discontented districts. They had no 
military employment, but spent an idle, dissatis- 
fying, inglorious barrack life. The emperor showed 
how sensitive he was on the subject of the army, 
by writing a public letter to Marshal Canrobert to 
thank the troops for their admirable behaviour 
in suppressing some popular riots that took place 
in Paris the day after the plebiscitum. "He 
assured them that his confidence in them had 
never been shaken." No one had said it had; 
but the military vote of the 8 th of May might 
justify a want of confidence, which his Majesty 
loudly professed he did not feel. Three important 
results flowed from the plebiscitum — the liberal 
party with their parliamentary constitution were 
overthrown, and their nominal leader, M. Ollivier, 
politically demoralized, was converted into an ob- 
sequious tool of the emperor's will; the emperor 
was restored to a blind confidence in his power 
and in the imperial destiny of his son; while at 
the same time he made the discovery, which ought 
to have been a warning, that there was no enthusi- 
asm in the army either for him or for his dynasty. 
Quern Deus vultperdere dementat is a maxim that 
many events of history have verified, but of no 
historical personage can it be said with more truth 
than of Napoleon III. in the eighteenth year of 
his reign. With the immense resources that he 
commanded, the countless channels of information 
he controlled, he was enveloped in a cloud of 
ignorance and falsehood both as to his real power 
and means, and as to his position relatively to his 
neighbours, that none but an autocrat could have 
endured. Self-deception bore no small part in the 
creation of the fool's paradise in which he lived 
and dreamed. His knowledge of artillery, his 
success in two wars, the deference paid him by 
foreign potentates, the number and costliness of 
his army, the vote of his seven million subjects, 
the defeat of his political opponents at home, the 
divisions, as he believed, of his enemies abroad, 
and the self-seeking flattery of his courtiers and 
ministers, all combined to make Louis Napoleon 
resolve on striking a final and victorious blow for 
the dynasty of the Bonapartes. An ingenious 
writer has endeavoured to draw a parallel between 
the Bonapartes in 1869-70 and the Bourbons in 
1789-90. At both periods France was engaged 
in the same kind of task — trying to make a con- 
stitution and avoid a revolution. The reigning 
monarch in each case attempted, with apparently 



honest intentions, to convert an absolute into a 
representative government. The elections to the 
Legislative Assembly in 1869 pointed to a new 
era, as clearly as did the elections to the Tiers Etat 
in 1789. The differences in the personages are as 
striking as the resemblance of the circumstances. 
Louis Napoleon was neither so dull nor so inno- 
cent as Louis Capet, the sixteenth of his name. 
The Empress Eugenie could hardly be compared 
with the daughter of Maria Theresa, Marie Antoi- 
nette, nor Prince Napoleon Jerome with Orleans 
Egalit^, while Rocheibrt fell considerably short of 
Robespierre, and Ollivier missed being a Nccker. 
France, too, in 1870 had no such work before her 
as that which the first revolution threw upon her 
hands. The privileges of the church and aristoc- 
racy then destroyed had not been restored. Social 
equality was established, and a career opened every 
where to talent. Sansculottism, in Mr. Carlyle's 
words, had got itself breeched, and the mass of the 
people, knowing the value of property, however 
small, had come to fear and hate violent revolutions. 
But as the national rapture and exultation which 
marked the first revolution was followed by the 
awful miseries of the Reign of Terror, so, alas ! was 
the corresponding jubilation thoughout France 
that welcomed the concessions of the emperor at 
the commencement of 1870, destined to terminate 
in disaster and mourning and woe. Upon whom 
was the onslaught of France to be made? the 
calculated attack that had so long occupied the 
meditations of Napoleon III? Upon a nation to 
all appearance lapped in dreams of peace; a people 
absorbed in the peaceful occupations of art, learning, 
commerce, and agriculture ; the artists of Munich 
and Dresden ; the professors and students of Heidel- 
berg, Gb'ttingen, Leipzig, and Berlin; the merchants 
of Hamburg, Bremen, and Dantzig; the plough- 
men of Bavaria, the fishermen of Pomerania, and 
the sturdy peasantry of Schleswig and Holstein, 
quite newly re-united to the Fatherland. All 
these would have to be summoned to the war, 
and thousands of them to die; their homesteads 
left to women and children, their fields standing 
untilled, their country houses and warehouses 
closed, and their ships locked in port or captured 
by hostile men of war. Fearful is the responsi- 
bility of those who engage in war, great should be 
the provocation that can justify it, for awful are 
the consequences of the first step that sets in 
motion that bitterest scourge of the human race. 



PART II. 



CHAPTER I. 



Attitude of France and Prussia — A Pretext only required for War — The German Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern cliosen as a Candidate for 
the Spanish Throne — Great excitement on the subject in Paris— Important Speech of the Due de Gramont in the Corps Legislatif — 
Military preparations — Warlike tone of the French Press — Stock-exchange panics — The King of Prussia denies having been in any way 
connected with the selection of the Prince — Refusal of Uie French Government to accept this statement — Critical position of affairs — 
Apparent solution of the difficulty, the Candidature of the Prince being withdrawn — Calm tone of the Prussian Press and Government to 
this point — Further demands from Prussia by the French Government — Interview of M. Benedetti, the French Ambassador, with the 
King of Prussia, at Ems — Diplomatic relations bruken off — Great excitement in Berlin — Important communication from the French 
Government to the Chambers — Declaration of War — Speech in opposition to such a procedure by M. Thiers — Votes for the Army and 
Navy — Enlistment of volunteers — Great animation in Paris — Speeches in the English Parliament — Communications between the Senate 
and the Emperor — Receipt of the news of the Declaration of War in Prussia — Address to the King — Patriotic proclamation of the German 
Liberal Union — Meeting of the North German Parliament — Speech of the King — Supplies voted with enthusiasm — Proclamation of the 
King — Important Circular of the Due de Gramont — Speech of the Emperor — Proclamation to the French Nation. 



The events narrated in the previous pages have 
shown that in consequence of the marked success 
of Prussia in the war between her and Austria in 
1866, and the subsequent formation of the North 
German Confederation, with Prussia at its head, 
France considered herself menaced by a too 
powerful neighbour ; and it became evident that a 
struggle between them, for the purpose of deciding 
their military supremacy and future position in 
Europe, was only a question of time and opportunity. 
The circumstance which was at last made the 
pretext for a declaration of war, was, however, in 
itself apparently the most unlikely to have led to 
such a result, and affords one of the most striking 
historical illustrations of the ancient adage : — 

" What mighty ills from trivial causes spring." 

The throne of Spain had remained vacant from 
the flight of Queen Isabella, in 1868, notwith- 
standing that the Cortes had, by a large majority, 
decided in favour of continuing the monarchical 
form of government. Several candidates had been 
proposed, but all had been deemed more or less 
unsuitable, until in June, 1870, General Prim, 
with the full approval of the ministry, offered it to 
Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, the 
eldest son of the reigning prince of Hohenzollern, 
who had, in 1849, surrendered his sovereign 
rights to Prussia. The prince, who had been 
married to the sister of the king of Portugal in 
1861, was thirty-five years of age, and a Roman 
Catholic in religion ; and the offer was accepted 
by him subject to the approval of the Cortes, 
which it was believed was certain to be obtained. 



No sooner, however, was the news of the event 
officially made known in Paris, on Tuesday, July 
5, than the greatest excitement was caused; the 
selection of him being regarded there as the work 
of the Prussian Count von Bismarck, with the view 
of either causing a rupture with France, or of 
making Spain little better than a dependency of 
Prussia. In the Legislative Assembly on the 
following clay, the Due de Gramont, the foreign 
minister, in reply to a question on the sub- 
ject, said that the negotiations which had led to 
the prince accepting the offer of the crown had 
been kept a secret from the French government. 
They had not transgressed the limits of strict 
neutrality in reference to the pretenders to the 
Spanish throne, and they should persist in that 
line of conduct ; but, the duke added, amid the 
cheers of the deputies, " We do not believe that 
respect for the rights of a neighbouring people 
obliges us to suffer a foreign power, by jolacing a 
prince upon the throne of Charles V., to disturb 
the European equilibrium to our disadvantage, and 
tints to imperil the interests and the honour of 
France. We entertain a firm hope that this will 
not happen ; to prevent it we count upon the 
wisdom of the German nation, and the friendship 
of the people of Spain; but in the contrary event, 
with your support and the support of the nation, 
we shall know how to do our duty without 
hesitation or weakness." 

This important statement was read, not spoken, 
thus showing that it had been carefully considered; 
in fact, the terms of it were settled at a council 
held at St. Cloud in the morning, at which the 



170 



THE FRANCO PRUSSIAN WAR. 



emperor presided. The assertion that the candida- 
ture of the prince had been kept secret from the 
French government, and had consequently taken 
them by surprise, was only true in a technical 
sense; for it was afterwards proved that the French 
ambassador at Madrid had known of it as being 
probable for several months. The matter had also 
been discussed in the German, and even alluded 
to in the French press, and on the prorogation of 
the Spanish Cortes on June 11 — three weeks 
before the excitement in Paris — General Prim made 
a series of explanations as to the non-success which 
had attended his endeavours to procure a suitable 
candidate for the throne; and after alluding to the 
ex-king of Portugal, the duke of Aosta, and the 
duke of Genoa, he mentioned a fourth candidate, of 
whom he said he had great hopes, but who, after 
going so far as to send two emissaries to Spain, had 
refused, owing to their report of the divisions in 
the Cortes, and an insurrection in Catalonia which 
took place during their stay. He asked to be 
permitted not to name this candidate — his object 
being to prevent the raising up of any obstacle 
to his renewal of negotiations. It was at once 
concluded, however, that he could be no other than 
Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern. Baron Mercier, 
the French ambassador, who was present when 
the explanation was made, quite agreed in this, 
and was by no means backward in stating so to 
his friends in the diplomatic gallery; and it is 
unreasonable to suppose that, even if he had not 
done so before, he did not state the fact in his 
communication to the French government on 
the following day. The name of the prince 
was also mentioned in the Madrid papers the 
same evening, and it would, therefore, certainly 
appear that the " surprise" of the French govern- 
ment, as expressed by the Due de Gramont, was 
leigned ; and that whatever other reason may have 
induced the emperor to delay objecting to the 
candidature of the prince, it could not have been 
because he was not aware of its being in contem- 
plation. 

At the same sitting of the Corps Legislatif, M. 
Ollivier, the prime minister, declined to accede to 
a request for the production of documents on the 
subject. He said that the declaration made by the 
Due de Gramont betrayed no uncertainty as to 
the question whether the government desired peace 
or war. The government passionately wished for 
Deacc, but with honour. The ministry was con- 



vinced that the Due de Gramont's statement would 
bring about a peaceful solution ; for whenever 
Europe was persuaded that France was firm in her 
legitimate duty, it did not resist her desire. There 
was no question here of a hidden object, and if a 
war was necessary, the government would not enter 
upon it without the assent of the Legislative Body. 
Great excitement prevailed in the Chamber during 
the delivery of both speeches. On the following 
day M. Picard asked the government to communi- 
cate to the House copies of the despatches ex- 
changed since the previous day between the courts 
of Paris and Berlin. M. Segris, in the absence of 
the minister for foreign affairs, replied that the 
government would, when expedient, communicate 
everything which did not compromise the peaceful 
settlement it was endeavouring to bring about. 
M. Jules Favre supported M. Picard's request, and 
upon M. Ollivier moving the adjournment of the 
debate, exclaimed, " Then it is a ministry of stock- 
exchange jobbers." At this there was great 
uproar, and the speaker was called to order. M. 
Ollivier afterwards declared that when the govern- 
ment deemed the time opportune, it would lay 
before the House all the information received at 
the foreign office. Meantime the country might 
rest assured of its firmly maintaining its dignity. 
Orders were immediately issued to the military 
authorities throughout the empire not to grant any 
further leave of absence ; officers were ordered to 
return at once to their regiments, and the frontier 
fortresses were thoroughly inspected. 

The French press, with only two or three 
exceptions, at once assumed a very menacing and 
hostile tone, and undoubtedly did much to enkindle 
that bitter feeling against Prussia which it was 
afterwards impossible to quell, even had such a 
thing been desired. One important journal de- 
clared that if France had once more submitted 
to be insulted and outwitted by Bismarck, 
" no woman of character would have consented 
to be seen on a Frenchman's arm ; " another 
compared Prussia to an eagle, which, drunk with 
repeated successes, had rashly pounced upon a 
lamb, not knowing that the shepherd's rifle was 
ready for her; and, as if determined to do all in 
its power to provoke a quarrel, it asked if the 
shepherd was not to fire merely because the eagle 
might be scared into dropping her prey, although 
sure some day to return, and then perhaps seize, 
not lamb, but mutton? " Sooner or later," it 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



171 



said, " France and Prussia must fight, and it is 
best to get it over at once." Nearly all the papers 
re-opened the old sore of the rectification of the 
Rhine frontier — an admirable method of playing 
into their enemy's hands, by making the quarrel 
German instead of Prussian; but they were too 
excited and angry to be diplomatic. One journal 
had the candour to say plainly that, the instant 
war was proclaimed, all talk of the Hohenzollern 
question ought to be at an end: to fight about 
whether a German prince should or should not 
sit on the Spanish throne, would, it said, be 
simply a "guerre impie," an iniquitous war. 

This warlike tone of the French press, and the 
uncertainty which consequently prevailed as to 
the continuance of peace, naturally caused a great 
convulsion in all the European exchanges, but 
especially on the Paris Bourse and the London 
Stock Exchange. The panic in London on Mon- 
day, July 11, was more severe than any which 
had been witnessed there for the previous sixteen 
years. All kinds of stocks and shares, many totally 
unconnected with European complications, and 
some even which would be likely to be benefited 
by war, were all heavily borne down, and in some 
instances were almost unsaleable. Consols fell to 
9 If ; a price about 2 per cent, below the average 
point at which they were maintained during the 
two years of the Indian mutiny, and exactly the 
same as during the four equally anxious years of 
the American struggle. Foreign stocks could 
scarcely be disposed of at all during the height of 
the panic. Some of them fell 7 or 8 per cent., 
and taking them at their money value, Spanish 
had at one time fallen 25 per cent. The total 
depreciation during the week, reckoning all classes 
of securities common to the Paris and London 
exchanges, could not have represented a sum of less 
than from £60,000,000 to £100,000,000. Among 
a few persons at Paris, enjoying early information, 
great gains were made ; but the amount of general 
distress occasioned was unusually severe, owing to 
the fact, that for the previous six months operations 
for a rise had been extensive and continuous in all 
markets. 

In the meantime Baron Werther, the Prussian 
ambassador at Paris, proceeded to Ems to consult 
with the king, and received from him an assurance 
that he had had nothing to do with the selection 
of the prince of Hohenzollern. The official North 
German Gazette, published at Berlin, also stated 



that the declaration of the Due de Gramont, in 
the French Chamber, that the prince had accepted 
the offer of the crown of Spain, was the first 
definitive announcement to that effect received 
there. The French government, however, re- 
sponded that it could not accept the answer of 
the king, and that either he must forbid the 
prince's persistence in his candidature, or war 
must ensue. An ultimatum to this effect was 
presented to the king by M. Benedetti, the 
French ambassador at Berlin, and in the mean- 
time military preparations were actively pushed 
on. On Tuesday, July 12, the Spanish ambas- 
sador in Paris received a despatch from the 
father of Prince Leopold, stating that, in conse- 
quence of the opposition his son's candidature 
appeared to have met with, he had withdrawn it 
in the name of the prince. On the following day 
the communication was read aloud in the " Salle 
des Conferences" adjoining the Chamber of the 
Legislative Body, and M. Ollivier, being eagerly 
questioned as to what it portended, said, France had 
never asked for more than the withdrawal of the 
prince's claims, had said nothing about the treaty 
of Prague, and the whole affair was therefore now 
at an end. Shortly afterwards the Due de Gramont 
made the announcement officially to the Legislative 
Body, but added the significant words: — "The 
negotiations which we are carrying on with Prus- 
sia, and which never had any other object in view 
than the above-mentioned solution, are not as yet 
terminated ; it is therefore impossible for the 
government to speak on the subject, or to submit 
to-day to the Chamber and to the country a general 
statement of this affair." On being pressed, he 
declined to add anything to his statement, and 
said he had nothing to do with rumours circu- 
lating in the lobbies of the Chamber; evidently 
referring to the announcement just before made by 
M. Ollivier, and from which it would appear, either 
that there had not been complete harmony in the 
cabinet, or that the Due de Gramont had been 
made the special medium of the emperor's wishes. 
After some discussion it was decided that the 
question should be debated on the following 
Friday. Much dissatisfaction and surprise pre- 
vailed in Paris at the vague and incomplete 
character of the duke's statement; but the general 
opinion was that war had been averted, at least 
for a time. The Constitutionnel, one of the 
oldest and most respectable journals, said the 



172 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



prince would not icign in Spain, and France 
asked for nothing further. All her just demands 
had been satisfied: "We receive with pride this 
pacific solution, and this great victory which has 
been obtained without one drop of blood having 
been shed." 

Up to this point the Prussian government and 
press had preserved great calmness throughout the 
whole proceedings. The semi-official North Ger- 
man Correspondent said, that Prussia had hitherto 
avoided all interference in the question of the 
Spanish succession, and was resolved to adhere 
to the same policy in the future. The Spaniards 
themselves ought to be the best judges of what 
was fitting for their country; whether a republic 
or a monarchy, this prince or that, a Spaniard or 
a foreigner. The Prussian government, whilst it 
respected the independence of Spain, was not 
conscious of having received any special mission 
to solve the complicated constitutional question 
on which the attention of Europe was fixed, but 
believed it would be most safe and politic to leave 
this problem in the hands of the Spanish people, 
and their accredited representatives. Similar views 
were expressed in a communication sent from 
the foreign office at Berlin to the representatives 
of the North German Confederation ; and it was 
added that those views were already known to the 
French government, but explanatory and con- 
fidential utterances had been prevented by the tone 
which the French minister had assumed from the 
beginning. 

On the following day (Wednesday, July 13), 
everything was changed, and the question again 
assumed a phase of exceeding gravity. The 
king of Prussia, unattended by a minister, was at 
Ems for the benefit of the waters; and as he was 
walking in the public garden he met M. Benedctti, 
the French ambassador, and told him he had a 
newspaper in his hand which showed that the 
prince had withdrawn his candidature. To his sur- 
prise the ambassador then made the further demand 
of a pledge, that he would never, under any 
circumstances, approve or give his consent to the 
candidature of the prince. The king replied that 
this was a step he could not take, as he must 
reserve to himself the right of action in future 
circumstances as they arose. Soon afterwards he 
found that the ambassador had asked for a fresh 
audience, and he sent an aide-de-camp to tell him 
that the prince's candidature had been withdrawn, 



and that in the same way and to the same extent as 
lie had approved of it, he approved of its withdrawal, 
and he hoped, therefore, that all difficulty on that 
point was at an end. On subsequently meeting the 
ambassador, the king wished to know if he had 
anything to say to him other than the proposition 
he had already made, and which he had declined. 
M. Benedctti replied that he had no fresh proposition, 
but had certain arguments to adduce in support of 
the former one, which he had not been able to urge. 
His Majesty said that with regard to himself he had 
already given his decision; but that if there were 
a political question to be discussed, he had better 
go to Count von Bismarck, and discuss with him the 
arguments which were to be adduced. M. Bcnedetti 
asked if the count was expected the next day, and 
when told he was not, he said he would be con- 
tent with the king's answer. Unfortunately the 
fact of the king's refusing to renew the discussion 
was telegraphed to Paris without the addition of the 
reference to Count von Bismarck, and the pressure 
put upon the king by M. Bcnedetti was published 
in Germany without the explanation that it was 
by way of sequel to a conversation the king 
had himself initiated. Neither the king nor M. 
Bcnedetti realized the offence that had been given 
and received, till Paris and Berlin informed them 
that each had been insulted. 

It afterwards transpired, from the despatches 
presented to the North German Parliament, that 
in addition to this demand on the king of Prussia 
at Ems. on July 13, in a conversation on the 
previous day M. Ollivier and the Due de Gramont 
requested Baron Werther to communicate to Count 
von Bismarck their demand that the king should 
write a letter of apology to the emperor, and that 
no allusion must be made in it to the fact of the 
Catholic Hohenzollerns being near relatives of the 
Bonapartes. In his reply to Baron Werther, Count 
von Bismarck said he had no doubt misconceived 
the meaning of the French ministers, and that he 
had, at all events, better desire them to put their 
demand down in writing, and have it communicated 
to the Prussian government in the usual way 
through their ambassador at Berlin. 

The king caused the circumstances connected 
with the fresh demands made on him by Count 
Benedctti at Ems, and of his having refused to 
accede to them, to be immediately telegraphed to 
Count von Bismarck at Berlin, who lost no time 
in publishing it ; at nine o'clock the same evening 



THE FEAXCO-PEUSSIA^ WAR. 



173 



boys in great numbers, in all the principal thorough- 
fares, distributed gratis a special supplement to 
the official North German Gazette relating what 
had occurred. The effect this bit of printed paper 
had upon the city was tremendous. It was hailed 
by old and young. It was welcomed by fathers of 
families and boys in their teens. It was read and 
re-read by ladies and young girls, and in patriotic 
glow finally handed over to the servants, who 
fondly hoped their sweethearts would soon be on 
the march. As though a stain had been wiped out 
from the national escutcheon, as though a burden 
too heavy to be borne for a long time past had 
been cast off at last, people were thanking God 
that their honour had been ultimately vindicated 
against intolerable assumption. There was but 
one opinion as to the conduct of the king; there 
was but one determination to follow his example. 
By ten o'clock the square in front of the royal 
palace was crowded with an excited multitude. 
Hurrahs for the king and cries " To the Rhine ! " 
were heard on all sides. Similar demonstrations 
were made in other quarters of the town. It was 
the explosion of a long pent up anger against the 
French attempts to interfere with the domestic 
concerns of Germany since 1866, and in the first 
flush of excitement people absolutely felt relieved 
at the prospect of circumstances permitting them 
to fight it out. Thank God ! They now could 
hope to unsheath the sword in a rightful quarrel. 
Their love of peace, till the day before faithfully 
preserved even under the trying events of the pre- 
vious week, had been mistaken for fear by a nation 
of an entirely different intellectual type. Their 
king had been affronted beyond endurance, and 
had given the only possible reply. The crisis had 
arrived. They yearned to prove the present error 
of the French in estimating their national character, 
to avenge past injuries and obviate their recur- 
rence, and so provide against the constant imperil- 
ling of peace, industry, and civilization for the 
future. Everywhere the same sentiments were 
uttered, the same resolves announced. In all the 
clubs and taverns, in many a private house, people 
remained together nearly the whole night, and 
only at break of day the streets assumed their 
usual aspect. 

The most intense excitement also prevailed in 
Paris during the night, and on every one's lips was 
that word of evil omen, " la guerre." Bodies of men 
paraded the principal streets up to a late hour, 



mixing up in a very odd fashion the cries of "A 
Berlin!" "A bas la Prussc!" "Vive l'empereur!" 
and the singing of the revolutionary war song, the 
" Marseillaise." It was a somewhat significant fact, 
that though this public singing of the " Marseil- 
laise" was illegal, and was before occasionally put 
down with great energy by the gendarmes, even 
though it was only indulged in by a few revellers 
returning late from a supper party, and not suffi- 
ciently numerous to be very formidable to the safety 
of the state, it was now allowed to pass without 
notice ; and hence the general impression was that 
the government were not sorry to give the patriotic 
anti-Prussian sentiment full play, partly to see 
what it was worth, and partly to make war popular. 

On the morning of Thursday, July 14, the 
Emperor Xapoleon went from St. Cloud to Paris, 
and presided at a cabinet council, which sat for 
several hours. The two Chambers expected a com- 
munication from the government, but none was 
made. On the following day, July 15 — a day 
which must now be ever memorable in the history 
of Europe — a communication drawn up at the 
council of ministers on the previous day was simul- 
taneously made by the government to the Senate 
and Corps Legislatif, explaining the situation of 
affairs, and terminating in a declaration of war. 
The communication was as follows : — 

"Gentlemen — -The manner in which you received 
the declaration of the 6th inst., afforded us the 
certainty that you approved our policy, and that 
we could count upon your support. We com- 
menced then negotiations with the foreign powers, 
to invoke their good offices with Prussia, in order 
that the legitimacy of our grievances might be 
recognized. We asked nothing of Spain, whose 
susceptibilities we did not wish to wound. We 
took no steps with the prince of Hohenzollern, 
considering him shielded by the king of Prussia, 
and we refused to mix up in the affair any recrimi- 
nation upon other subjects. The majority of the 
powers admitted, with more or less warmth, the 
justice of our demands. The Prussian minister of 
foreign affairs refused to accede to our demands, 
pretending that he knew nothing of the affair, and 
that the cabinet of Berlin remained completely a 
stranger to it. We then addressed ourselves to 
the king himself, and the king, while avowing that 
he had authorized the prince of Hohenzollern to 
accept the nomination of the Spanish crown, 
maintained that he had also been a stranger to the 



174 



THE FEANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



negotiation, and that lie had intervened between 
the prince of Hohenzollem and Spain as head of 
the family, and not as sovereign. He acknowledged, 
however, that he had communicated the affair to 
Count von Bismarck. We could not admit this 
subtle distinction between the chief of the family 
and the sovereign. In the meanwhile we received 
an intimation from the Spanish ambassador, that the 
prince of Hohenzollem had renounced the crown. 
We asked the king to associate himself with this 
renunciation, and we asked him to engage, that 
should the crown be again offered to the prince of 
Hohenzollem, he would refuse his authorization. 
Our moderate demands, couched in equally mode- 
rate language, written to M. Benedetti, made it 
clear that we had no arriere pensee, and that we 
were not seeking a pretext in the Hohenzollem 
affair. The engagement demanded the king re- 
fused to give, and terminated the conversation with 
M. Benedetti, by saying that he would in this, as 
in all other tilings, reserve to himself the right of 
considering the circumstances. Notwithstanding 
this, in consequence of our desire for peace, we 
did not break off the negotiations. Our surprise 
was great when we learned that the king hail 
refused to receive M. Benedetti, and had communi- 
cated the fact officially to the cabinet. We learned 
that Baron Werther had received orders to take 
his leave, and that Prussia was arming. Under 
these circumstances we should have forgotten our 
dignity, and also our prudence, had we not made 
preparations. We have prepared to maintain the 
war which is offered to us, leaving to each that 
portion of the responsibility which devolves upon 
him. Since yesterday we have called out the 
reserve, and we shall take the necessary measures 
to guard the interest, and the security, and the 
honour of France." 

In both Houses the ministerial declaration was 
received with great applause. In the Corps 
Legislatif, however, a considerable minority were 
indisposed to approve the policy of the government 
— at least, without fuller information. M. Jules 
Favre called upon the ministers to communicate 
the documents which had passed during the 
negotiations, and especially the Prussian despatch 
addressed to foreign governments admitting the 
refusal of the king of Prussia to receive M. Bene- 
detti. M. Buffet opposed the demand for papers, 
and M. Jules Favre's motion was rejected by 164 
votes against 83. An important speech was also 



made against the proceeding of the government by 
the veteran statesman, M. Thiers, who eloquently 
denounced the imprudence and impolicy of the 
war. He bad been as deeply vexed as any one by 
the events of 1866, and earnestly desired reparation, 
but he considered the present occasion ill chosen : 
"for," added he, "when the satisfaction we had a 
right to demand had been granted ; when Prussia 
had expiated by her withdrawal the grave fault she 
had committed in stepping beyond the limits of 
Germany, where lies her strength, and raising 
hostile pretensions suddenly in our rear ; when 
Europe with honourable readiness declared that 
we were in the right — then for the government to 
have listened to susceptibilities upon questions of 
form might one day cause them regret." The 
opposition speakers could not, however, get a fair 
hearing, no tolerance being shown for those who 
differed from the majority. " I am about to quit 
the tribune," said M. Thiers, " borne down by the 
fatigue of speaking to people who will not hear 
me. I shall nevertheless have demonstrated that 
the interests of France were safe, and that you 
aroused the susceptibilities from which war has 
issued. That is your fault." 

In the evening sitting of the Legislative Body, 
after a noisy debate, a credit of 50,000,000 francs 
was voted by 246 votes against 10 ; a credit of 
16,000.000 francs for naval purposes was also voted 
by 248 votes against 1. A motion to call out the 
Guard Mobile to active service was adopted by 
243 votes against 1. Another motion, authorizing 
the enlistment of volunteers for the duration of the 
war, was adopted by 244 votes against 1. 

During the night, extraordinary animation pre- 
vailed throughout Paris. Numerous crowds, each 
numbering several thousands, came forth from the 
suburbs and traversed the Boulevards, singing the 
"Marseillaise" and the "Chant du Depart," and 
shouting "Vive la guerre ! A has la Prusse! 
Vive l'Empereur ! A Berlin !" It has been sug- 
gested that these patriotic displays were organized 
by the police. The soldier, however, became 
the hero of the hour, and could hardly show 
himself in the streets without being surrounded 
and applauded. In fact, the people became intoxi- 
cated by martial enthusiasm, and so blinded bv 
jealous passion, that they were really not open 
to argument as to the right and wrong of the 
quarrel, and it became far less a question of a 
Hohenzollem pretension and a Benedetti rebuff. 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



175 



than one of seeing which was the stronger nation. 
Animosity against Prussia had vented itself so 
long in words, and it had become such a constant 
habit with many Frenchmen to speak of some 
future day of reckoning with their upstart rival as 
a matter of necessity, that the actual declaration of 
war seemed to afford relief to a very strong national 
feeling, and little else was thought of at first. 
Most Frenchmen had been fighting Prussia in 
imagination for the previous four years, and giving 
her the lesson her presumption deserved ; the 
imagination and the longing had been so strong, 
and the reality for some days so tangible, that the 
transition from the one to the other was scarcely 
felt. It is true that the Republican journals, 
representing the opinions of the mass of the 
artizans, were from the first against war, nor was 
it at all popular with the peasantry, to whom it 
meant only a wider conscription and increased 
taxation ; but in the heat of the excitement all 
prudential considerations were forgotten, and the 
voices and opinions of those who deplored the 
result to which matters had been brought had no 
influence with those who had the power and were 
determined to use it. Some attempts made by 
artizans and others in Paris, on the evening war 
was declared and on the following day, to get up 
counter-demonstrations in favour of peace, were 
immediately put down by the police. 

The news of war having actually been declared 
reached England immediately, and when Parlia- 
ment met the same afternoon, Mr. Disraeli, the 
leader of the Opposition, asked the prime minister, 
Mr. Gladstone, if he could inform the House of the 
real cause of the rupture, as he could not bring 
himself to believe that in the nineteenth century, 
witli its extended sympathies and its elevated ten- 
dencies, anything so degrading as a war of succes- 
sion could take place; and he reminded the House 
that only about two years before, in the matter of 
Luxemburg, both France and Prussia had invited 
the good offices of England, and they were success- 
ful in removing difficulties which then threatened 
a rupture. France and Prussia had thus, in his 
opinion, no moral right to go to war without con- 
sulting England, and he wished to know whether 
the government had taken any steps to impress 
this upon them. With great solemnity of manner 
he concluded, " I will only venture to express my 
individual opinion, that the ruler of any country 
who at this time disturbs the peace of Europe, 



incurs the gravest political and moral responsibility 
which it has ever fallen to the lot of man to incur. 
I hear, Sir, superficial remarks made about military 
surprises, the capture of capitals, and the brilliancy 
and celerity with which results which are not 
expected or contemplated may be brought about 
at this moment. Sir, these are events of a bygone 
age. In the last century such melodramatic 
catastrophes were frequent and effective ; we 
live in an age animated by a very different 
spirit ; I think a great country like France, and 
a great country like Prussia, cannot be ulti- 
mately affected by such results ; and the sovereign 
who trusts to them will find at the moment of 
action that he has to encounter, wherever he may 
be placed, a greater and more powerful force than 
any military array, and that is the outraged opinion 
of an enlightened world." Mr. Gladstone, excusing 
himself from the same freedom of remark in which 
the leader of the Opposition had indulged, justified 
the right of England to intervene in the cause of 
peace, not only on moral grounds, but on the 
strength of the protocol of Paris in 1856, which 
set forth the duties of all of the powers there 
represented to submit to friendly adjudication 
any causes of difference, before resorting to the 
last extremity. Neither France nor Prussia had, 
however, shown any indisposition to listen to her 
Majesty's government on this occasion, and the 
foreign secretary had therefore not deemed it 
necessary to make an express representation, in the 
sense suggested by Mr. Disraeli. 

At a reception of the members of the Senate 
by the emperor at St. Cloud, on the follow- 
ing day (Saturday, 16th July), M. Rouher, 
addressing his majesty, said — " The guarantees 
demanded from Prussia have been refused, and 
the dignity of France has been disregarded. 
Your majesty draws the sword, and the country 
is with you trembling with indignation at the 
excesses that an ambition over-excited by one 
day's good fortune was sure, sooner or later, to 
produce. Your majesty was able to wait, but 
has occupied the last four years in perfecting 
the armament and the organization of the army." 
M. Rouher added his hope that the empress would 
again act as regent, and that the emperor would 
take the command of the army. The emperor 
replied — "Messieurs les Senateurs, I was grati- 
fied to learn with what great enthusiasm the Senate 
received the declaration which the minister of 



17G 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



foreign affairs has been instructed to make. 
Whenever great interests and the honour of 
France are at stake, I am sure to receive energetic 
support from the Senate. We are beginning a 
serious struggle, and France needs the co-opera- 
tion of all her children. I am very glad that the 
first patriotic utterance has come from the Senate. 
It will be loudly re-echoed throughout the country." 

In Prussia the news that France had determined 
upon war was received with enthusiasm. King 
William arrived at his palace in Berlin on Thurs- 
day night, July 14, and was received with the 
greatest possible loyalty and warmth. Upwards 
of 100,000 persons were assembled, from the 
Brandenburg Gate to the palace, cheering loudly 
and singing the national anthem. The Unter 
den Linden was illuminated, and decorated with 
the North German and Prussian flags. King Wil- 
liam came forward repeatedly to the windows of 
the palace, saluting and thanking the crowd. 

The following " Proclamation to our Country- 
men" by the National Liberal party — -the most 
numerous both in Parliament and among the 
people — is a fair specimen of the numerous 
addresses which were at once issued by both 
public and private societies : — 

" War has become inevitable From the plough, 
the workshop, the office, and the study, our bro- 
thers congregate to ward off an enemy that 
menaces the highest treasures of the nation. The 
army whose onslaught they are going to encounter 
is differently composed from our own. It consists 
of mercenaries and conscripts, without any edu- 
cated and well-to-do people among them, and for 
this very reason is liable to be made a tool of by 
an unjust and frivolous cabinet. Since the Corsi- 
can's nephew, by conspiracy, perjury, and every 
description of crime, surreptitiously obtained the 
throne of France, his only means of concealing 
domestic decline was to engage in foreign adven- 
ture. The French nation, humiliated at home, 
was to be reconciled to its fate by martial triumphs, 
flattering to its national vanity. Through cunning 
and force France was to be raised to an artificial 
supremacy over the rest of the world. To disturb 
the peace of Europe has ever been the only policy 
of Bonapartism, the vital condition of its exist- 
ence. Since Louis Napoleon ascended the throne, 
all his hypocritical assurances of pacific sentiments 
have never sufficed to give any one a firm confi- 
dence in the continuation of peace ; since he has 



been reckoned among sovereigns war has always 
been considered a mere question of time, and the 
utmost exertion of the industrious classes has been 
barely sufficient to cover the military expenditure 
of the various states. There is no country in 
Europe with which he has not meddled. He 
has quarreled with all, menaced all. Even if a 
state allied itself to him it was not safe from his 
treachery, as Italy experienced to her cost. The 
Poles were encouraged by him to rebel, only to be 
left to their terrible fate when it no longer suited 
him to play their patron. Neutral Belgium, Ger- 
man Luxemburg, and even some cantons of 
Switzerland, that tower of peace erected between 
contending nations, have at various times been the 
objects of his cupidity, and were only saved by the 
vigilance of the other powers, and their instinctive 
opposition to the immorality and mendacity of the 
Napoleonic polities. As long ago as the Crimean 
war Napoleon endeavoured to find a pretext for 
occupying the Bhine province. While we were 
fighting Austria he again had his eye upon the 
Bhine, and if we had not so quickly conquered, 
would have pounced upon us and have kindled 
universal war. Is it necessary to enumerate other 
instances of his disgraceful interference? Italy had 
to pay with two of her provinces for the French 
alliance, and at his hands, besides suffering many 
other indignities, was destined to provide the human 
bodies which first attested the efficiency of the 
'miraculous' Chassepot. In Spain French influence 
has long been the strongest impediment in the way 
of progress, and although the independence of 
nations has ever been pompously paraded by him, 
Napoleon assisted the slave breeders in America, 
invaded Mexico, and in Germany calculated upon 
Austria being victorious. That he was mistaken in 
this latter calculation, and that the German people 
have at last found, and are steadily marching on, 
their way towards unity, makes him perfectly rest- 
less. It was certainly no very becoming act on 
the part of French diplomacy, when we had 
defeated Austria, to come to us begging for a 
small douceur in the shape of a province or two 
to reward them for their evil-disposed neutrality; 
nor was it very honest on the part of the same 
worthies to attempt to deprive us of our Italian ally 
by bribery and deceit. Again, it was France, 
who, by her perfidious intermeddling, prevented 
us from imposing such conditions of peace upon 
Austria as would have extended the ties of 



TEE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



177 



national unity to the southern states. In thus 
keeping them out from the Confederacy, Napoleon 
hoped to make the southern sovereigns tools in 
his hands and traitors to the Fatherland. We 
submitted to his arrogance on all these occasions, 
as also when the Luxemburg affair was brought 
upon the carpet, because we hoped to be able 
to avoid war. But his latest demands, and the 
manner in which they have been preferred, exceed 
everything that has gone before. To mask his 
domestic embarrassments, to save his throne, which 
would otherwise succumb to the hatred and con- 
tempt of his own subjects, the sanguinary adven- 
turer has embarked in his last military job. In 
taking up the gauntlet thrown down to us, we are 
actuated by a sense of honour, and also by a desire at 
last to free ourselves from the dangers and solicitudes 
of the fictitious peace we have endured so long. 
More injurious than open war, the armed peace 
to which we have submitted has exhausted our 
resources, undermined our industry, stopped the 
advance of our culture, and, worst of all, kept us in 
constant dread of the sword suspended over us by a 
hair. In contending against the execrable system 
of Bonapartism, we shall be fighting, not only for 
our independence, but for the peace and culture 
of Europe. Unknown to the Germans is the lust of 
conquest; all they require is to be permitted to be 
their own masters. While protecting our own 
soil, language, and nationality, we are willing to 
concede corresponding rights to all other nations. 
We do not hate the French, but the government 
and the system which dishonour, enslave, and 
humiliate them. The French have been in- 
veigled into war by their government misrepre- 
senting and calumniating us ; but our victory will 
be also their emancipation. We are firmly con- 
vinced that this will be the last great war the 
German nation is destined to undergo, and that 
the unity of our race will be the result of it. 
The God of Justice is with us. The insolent 
provocation of the French despot has done away 
with our internal divisions. The Main even now 
is bridged over. Party divisions are extinct, and 
will remain so as long as our united strength is 
required to overthrow the common enemy, who 
is equally the enemy of Germany and humanity. 
Inspired by the magnitude of the task before us, 
we are all united, a people of brethren, who will 
neither tarry nor rest until the great object has 
been accomplished." 



Not a few passages in the above document would 
make the reader imagine it proceeded from a radi- 
cal source. But its authors, the National Liberals, 
are the most temperate section of the liberals in 
Germany, and for the most part include the 
wealth and rank of the nation. If a class of 
politicians, whose sobriety and, in many instances, 
tameness had become proverbial, was moved to 
employ such language as the above, the feeling 
and expressions of the less moderate can be easily 
imagined. 

The mobilization of the whole of the North 
German army was ordered on 16th July, and 
on the following Monday the king received an 
address from the Berlin town council, thanking 
his majesty for having repelled the unheard-of 
attempt made upon the dignity and independence 
of the nation, and asserting that France having 
declared war against Prussia, every man would do 
his duty. The king, in reply, expressed his gra- 
titude for the sentiments contained in the address, 
and said: — 

" God knows I am not answerable for this war. 
The demand sent me I could not do otherwise 
than reject. My reply gained the approval of all 
the towns and provinces, the expression of which 
I have received from all parts of Germany, and 
even from Germans residing beyond the seas. The 
greeting which was given me here on Thursday 
night last animated me with pride and confidence. 
Heavy sacrifices will be demanded of my people. 
We have been rendered unaccustomed to them by 
the quickly gained victories which we achieved in 
the last two wars. We shall not get off so cheaply 
this time; but I know what I may expect from my 
army, and from those now hastening to join the 
ranks. The instrument is sharp and cutting. 
The result is in the hands of God. I know also 
what I may expect from those who are called upon 
to alleviate the wounds — the pains and sufferings 
— which war entails. In conclusion, I beg you to 
express my sincere thanks to the citizens for the 
reception they have given me." At the termi- 
nation of the royal address, which was delivered 
with much earnestness and gravity, the assembly, 
in a transport of enthusiasm, shouted unanimously, 
" Long live the king ! " 

The North German Parliament was opened on 
the next day (Tuesday, July 19), with a speech 
from the throne delivered by King William in 
person. In the course of it he said: — 



178 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



" The candidature of a German prince for the 
Spanish throne — both in the bringing forward 
and withdrawal of which the Confederate govern- 
ments were equally unconcerned, and which only 
interested the North German Confederation in so far 
as the government of a friendly country appeared 
to base upon its success the hopes of acquiring for 
a sorely-tried people a pledge for regular and peace- 
ful government — afforded the emperor of the 
French a pretext for a casus belli, put forward in 
a manner long since unknown in the annals of 
diplomatic intercourse, and adhered to after the 
removal of the very pretext itself, with that dis- 
regard of the people's right to the blessings of 
peace of which the history of a former ruler of 
France affords so many analogous examples. If 
Germany in former centuries bore in silence such 
violation of her rights and of her honour, it was 
only because, in her then divided state, she knew 
not her own strength. To-day, when the links of 
intellectual and rightful community which began 
to be knit together at the time of the wars of 
liberation join — the more slowly the more surely 
— the different German races; to-day that Ger- 
many's armament leaves no longer an opening to 
the enemy, the German nation contains within 
itself the wish and the power to repel the renewed 
aggression of France. It is not arrogance that 
puts these words into my mouth. The Confeder- 
ate governments, and I myself, are acting in 
the full consciousness that victory and defeat are 
in the hands of Him who decides the fate of 
battles. With a clear gaze we have measured the 
responsibility which, before the judgment seat of 
God and of mankind, must fall upon him who 
drags two great and peace-loving peoples in the 
heart of Europe into a devastating war. 

" The German and French peoples, both equally 
enjoying and desiring the blessings of a Christian 
civilization and of an increasing prosperity, are 
called to a more wholesome rivalry than the san- 
guinary conflict of arms. Yet those who hold 
power in France have, by preconcerted misguid- 
ance, found means to work upon the legitimate 
but excitable national sentiment of our great neigh- 
bouring people, for the furtherance of personal 
interests and the gratification of selfish passions. 

" The more the Confederate governments are con- 
scious of having done all their honour and dignity 
permitted to preserve to Europe the blessings of 
peace, and the more indubitable it shall appear 



to all minds that the sword has been thrust into 
our hands, so much the more confidently shall we 
rely upon the united will of the German govern- 
ments, both of the north and south, and upon your 
love of country, and so much the more confidently 
we shall fight for our right against the violence 
of foreign invaders. Inasmuch as we pursue no 
other object than the durable establishment of 
peace in Europe, God will be with us, as He was 
with our forefathers." 

When the House met in the afternoon for the 
despatch of business, Count von Bismarck informed 
the members that the French charge d'affaires had 
delivered a declaration of war against Prussia. 
Hereupon all present arose, and greeted the an- 
nouncement with loud cheering; the persons in 
the gallery shouting " Hurrah ! " 

On the following day the Parliament, in reply 
to his speech, presented the king with an address, 
in which they said : — 

" One thought, one resolve, pervades all Germany 
at this grave juncture. 

" With proud satisfaction has the nation wit- 
nessed your Majesty's dignified attitude in rejecting 
a demand of unprecedented arrogance put forward 
by the enemy. Disappointed in his hope of humili- 
ating us, the enemy has now invented a sorry and 
transparent pretext for levying war. 

" The German nation has no more ardent wish 
than to live in peace and amity with all nations 
that respect its honour and independence. 

"As in 1813, in those glorious days when we 
freed the country from foreign aggression, we are 
now forced again to take up arms to vindicate oui 
rights and liberties against a Napoleon. 

" As in those well-remembered days, all calcula- 
tions based upon human frailty and faithlessness 
will be destroyed by the moral energy and resolute 
will of the German nation. 

" That portion of the French people which by 
envy and selfish ambition has been seduced into 
hostility against us, will, too late, perceive the 
crop of evil sure to grow out of sanguinary battle- 
fields. We regret that the more equitably inclined 
in France have failed to prevent a crime aimed no 
less at the prosperity of their own country than 
the maintenance of amicable international relations 
in this part of the world. 

" The German people are aware that they have 
a severe and portentous struggle before them. 

" We confide in the gallantry and patriotism of 



FHE FRANCO PRUSSIAN WAR 



179 



our brethren in arms, in the indomitable resolve 
of an united people to sacrifice life and treasure 
rather than suffer a foreign conqueror to set his 
foot on German necks. 

" We confi.de in the guidance of our aged and 
heroic king, who when a young man, more than 
half a century ago, warred against the French, 
and who, in the evening of fife, is destined by 
Providence decisively to terminate a struggle he 
then began. 

" We confide in the Almighty, whose judgment 
will punish the bloody crime perpetrated against us. 

" From the shores of the German Ocean to the 
foot of the Alps the nation has risen as a single 
man at the call of its allied princes. No sacrifice 
will be too heavy for it to make. 

" Throughout the civilized world public opinion 
recognizes the justice of our cause. Friendly 
nations are looking forward to our victory, which 
is to free some from the ambitious tyranny of a 
Bonaparte, and to avenge the injury he has inflicted 
upon so many others. 

" The victory gained, the German nation will at 
last achieve its unity, and on the battle-field, held 
by force of arms, with the common consent of its 
various tribes, erect a free commonwealth, which 
shall be respected by all peoples. 

" Your Majesty and the allied German govern- 
ments see us and our brethren in the South ready 
to co-operate for the attainment of this object. 
The prize of the war is the protection of our honour 
and liberty, the re-establishment of peace in Europe, 
and the promotion of the prosperity of nations. 

" With profound respect and in loyal obedience, 

" THE PARLIAMENT OF THE NORTH 
GERMAN CONFEDERACY." 

Immediately after the passing of this address, and 
as an incontrovertible proof that it meant something 
more than words, a loan of 120,000,000 thalers 
(£.18,000,000) was voted by acclamation. In neither 
case was there a discussion. As the sum granted 
was equal to a fourth of the whole Prussian debt, 
there was a significant eloquence in the figures 
which ought not to be overlooked by the con- 
temporary historian. Smaller grants, but which 
in the aggregate reached nearly a third of the 
Federal loan, were in the next two days likewise 
devoted to military purposes by the various state 
parliaments and governments of Northern and 
Southern Germany. 



On Thursday the Parliament was prorogued. 
Count von Bismarck read a message from the Presi- 
dent of the Confederation, and concluded as fol- 
lows : — " After the words that the king has twice 
addressed to the Parliament, I should have nothing 
to add, were it not that his Majesty has com- 
manded me to express his warmest thanks to the 
Parliament for the rapidity and unanimity with 
which it has provided for the requirements of 
the nation. In thus fulfilling the king's order, 
I declare Parliament closed." Dr. Simson next 
addressed a few words to the House, and said : — 
" The labours of the representatives of the people 
are for the present at an end, and the work of 
arms will now take its course. May the blessing 
of the Almighty descend upon our people in this 
holy war ! Long live King William, commander- 
in-chief of the German army ! " The session 
terminated amid loud and prolonged cheering. 

The same day the king issued the following 
proclamation to his subjects: — 

" I am compelled to draw the sword to ward off 
a wanton attack, with all the forces at Germany's 
disposal. It is a great consolation to me, before 
God and man, that I have in no way given a 
pretext for it. My conscience acquits me of 
having provoked this war, and I am certain of the 
righteousness of our cause in the sight of God. 
The struggle before us is serious, and it will demand 
heavy sacrifices from my people and from all Ger- 
many. But I go forth to it looking to the omni- 
scient God and imploring His almighty support. I 
have already cause to thank God that, on the first 
news of the war, one only feeling animated ah 
German hearts and proclaimed aloud the indigna- 
tion felt at the attack, and the joyful confidence 
that Heaven will bestow victory on the righteous 
cause. My people will also stand by me in this 
struggle as they stood by my father, who now rests 
with God. They will, with me, make all sacrifices 
to conquer peace again for the nations. From my 
youth upwards I have learnt to believe, that all 
depends upon the help of a gracious God. In Him 
is my trust, and I beg my people to rest in the 
same assurance. I bow myself before Him in 
acknowledgment of His mercy, and I am sure 
that my subjects and fellow-countrymen do so with 
me. Therefore I decree that Wednesday, the 27 th 
of July, shall be set apart for an extraordinary 
solemn day of prayer and divine service in all our 
churches, with abstention from all public occupa- 



180 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



tions and labour, so far as may comport with the 
pressing necessities of the time. I also decree 
that while the war lasts prayers shall be offered in 
all divine services, that in this struggle God may 
lead us to victory, that He may give us grace to 
bear ourselves as Christian men even unto our 
enemies, and that it may please Him to allow us to 
obtain a lasting peace, founded on the honour and 
independence of Germany. 

(Signed) " WILLIAM. 
(Counter Signed) " VON MUHLER. 
"Berlin, July 21." 

On July 21 the Due de Gramont addressed 
a circular to the French representatives abroad, 
with the object of proving that the nomination of 
Prince Leopold of Hohcnzollern for the Spanish 
throne had been mysteriously promoted by Prussia, 
in the hope that France would be obliged to accept 
it as an accomplished fact. The circular stated: — 
" Either the cabinet of Berlin considered war 
necessary for the accomplishment of the designs 
it had long since been meditating against the 
autonomy of the German states, or not satisfied 
with having established in the centre of Europe a 
military power redoubtable to its neighbours, it 
desired to take advantage of the strength it had 
acquired to displace definitely, for its own benefit, 
the international equilibrium. The premeditated 
intention of refusing us the guarantees most indis- 
pensable to our security as well as our honour, is 
plainly exhibited in all its conduct. 

" France has taken up the cause of equilibrium, 
that is to say, the interest of all the populations 
menaced like herself by the disproportionate 
aggrandizement of a royal house. In so doing docs 
she place herself, as has been asserted, in con- 
tradiction to her own maxims ? Assuredly not. 
Every nation, we are foremost to proclaim, has a 
right to govern its own destinies. That principle, 
openly affirmed by Fiance, has become one of the 
fundamental laws of modern politics. But the 
right of each people, as of each individual, is 
limited by that of others, and any nation is for- 
bidden, under the pretext of exercising its own 
sovereignty, to menace the existence or security 
of a neighbouring nation. In that sense it was 
that M. de Lamartine, one of our great orators, said, 
in 1847, that in the choice of a sovereign a govern- 
ment has never the right to pretend, and has 



always the right to exclude. That doctrine has 
been admitted on several occasions, and Prussia, 
whom we did not fail to remind of those pre- 
cedents, appeared ibr a moment to give way to 
our just demands. Prince Leopold withdrew his 
candidatesliip ; there was room to hope that the 
peace would not be broken. But that expectation 
soon gave place to fresh apprehensions, and then 
to the certainty that Prussia, without seriously 
abandoning any of her pretensions, was only seek- 
ing to gain time. The language, at first un- 
decided, and then firm and haughty, of the cliief 
of the house of Hohenzollern, his refusal to engage 
to maintain on the morrow the renunciation of 
yesterday, the treatment inflicted on our ambas- 
sador, who was forbidden by a verbal message 
from any fresh communication for the object of his 
mission of conciliation, and, lastly, the publicity 
given to that unparalleled proceeding by the 
Prussian journals, and by the notification of 
it made to the cabinets — all those successive 
symptoms of aggressive intentions removed every 
doubt in the most prejudiced minds. Can there 
be any illusion when a sovereign who commands 
a million of soldiers declares, with his hand on 
the hilt of his sword, that he reserves the right of 
taking counsel of himself alone, and from cir- 
cumstances? We were led to that extreme 
limit at which a nation who feels what is due to 
itself cannot further compromise with the require- 
ments of its honour. If the closing incidents of 
this painful discussion did not throw a somewhat 
vivid light on the schemes nourished by the Berlin 
cabinet, there is one circumstance not so well 
known at present, which would put a decisive 
interpretation on its conduct. The idea of raising 
a Hohenzollern prince to the Spanish throne was 
not a new one. So early as March, 1869, it had 
been mentioned by our ambassador at Berlin, who 
was at once requested to inform Count von Bismarck 
what view the emperor's government would take 
of such an eventuality. Count Benedetti, in 
several interviews which he had on this topic with 
the chancellor of the North German Confederation 
and the under secretary of state intrusted with 
the management of foreign affairs, did not leave 
them in ignorance that we could never admit that 
a Prussian prince should reign beyond the 
Pyrenees. Count von Bismarck, for his part, de- 
clared that we need be under no anxiety concern- 
ing a combination which he himself judged to be 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



181 



incapable of realization, and during the absence of 
the Federal chancellor, at a moment when M. Bene- 
detti considered it his duty to be incredulous and 
pressing, Herr von Theile gave his word of honour 
that the prince of Hohenzollern was not and could 
not seriously become a candidate for the Spanish 
crown. If one were to suspect official assurances 
so positive as this, diplomatic communications 
would cease to be a guarantee for the peace of 
Europe ; they would be but a snare and a source 
of peril. Thus, although our ambassador trans- 
mitted these statements under all reserve, the 
Imperial government deemed fit to receive them 
favourably. It refused to call their good faith into 
question until the combination which was their 
glaring negation suddenly revealed itself. In 
unexpectedly breaking the promise which she 
had given us, without even attempting to take 
any steps to free herself towards us, Prussia 
offered us a veritable defiance. Enlightened at 
once as to the value to be attached to the most 
formal protests of Prussian statesmen, we were 
imperiously obliged to preserve our loyalty from 
fresh mistakes in the future by an explicit 
guarantee. We therefore felt it our duty to insist, 
as we have done, on obtaining the certitude that 
a withdrawal, which was hedged round with the 
most subtle distinctions, was this time definite and 
serious. It is just that the court of Berlin should 
bear, before history, the responsibility of this war, 
which it had the means of avoiding and which it 
has wished for. And under what circumstances 
has it sought out the struggle? It is when for 
the last four years France, displaying continual 
moderation towards it, has abstained, with a 
scrupulousness perhaps exaggerated, from calling 
up against it the treaties concluded under the 
mediation of the emperor himself, but the 
voluntary neglect of which is seen in all the acts 
of a government which was already thinking of 
getting rid of them at the moment of signature. 
Europe has been witness of our conduct, and she 
has had the opportunity of comparing it with that 
of Prussia during this period. Let her pronounce 
now upon the justice of our cause. Whatever be 
the issue of our combats we await without dis- 
quietude the judgment of our contemporaries as 
that of posterity." 

Immediately this circular reached Berlin both 
Count von Bismarck and Herr von Theile issued 
one, denying most positively that any such pledge 



was ever given, and in no ambiguous phrase affirm- 
ing that M. Benedetti had made a statement quite 
unfounded in fact. On search at the French Foreign 
Office, however, a despatch narrating the circum- 
stance was found, but as previously stated by the 
Due de Gramont, it was marked " under all reserves," 
a sterotyped phrase of diplomatic phraseology of 
a rather elastic nature. 

On July 22 the emperor received the mem- 
bers of the Legislative Body, and the president, 
M. Schneider, addressed him as follows : — 

" Sire, — The Legislative Body has terminated 
its labours, after voting all the subsidies and laws 
necessary for the defence of the country. Thus 
the Chamber has joined in an effective proof of 
patriotism. The real author of the war is not he 
by whom it was declared, but he who rendered it 
necessary. There will be but one voice among 
the people of both hemispheres, throwing, namely, 
the responsibility of the war upon Prussia, which, 
intoxicated by unexpected success and encouraged 
by our patience and our desire to preserve to 
Europe the blessings of peace, has imagined that 
she could conspire against our security, and 
wound with impunity our honour. Under these cir- 
cumstances France will know how to do her duty. 
The most ardent wishes will follow you to the 
army, the command of which you assume, accom- 
panied by your son, who, anticipating the duties of 
maturer age, will learn by your side how to serve 
his country. Behind you, behind our army, accus- 
tomed to carry the noble flag of France, stand the 
whole nation ready to recruit it. Leave the re- 
gency without anxiety in the hands of our august 
sovereign the empress. To the authority com- 
manded by her great qualities, of which ample 
evidence has already been given, her Majesty will 
add the strength now afforded by the liberal insti- 
tutions so gloriously inaugurated by your Majesty. 
Sire, the heart of the nation is with you, and with 
your valiant army." 

The emperor replied : — 

" I experience the most lively satisfaction, on the 
eve of my departure for the army, at being able to 
thank you for the patriotic support which you have 
afforded my government. A war is right when 
it is waged with the assent of the country and 
the approval of the country's representatives. You 
are right to remember the words of Montesquieu, 
that ' the real author of war is not he by whom it 
is declared, but he who renders it necessary. ' We 



182 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



have done all in our power to avert the war, and 
I may say that it is the whole nation which has, 
by its irresistible impulse, dictated our decisions. 
I confide to you the empress, who will call you 
around her if circumstances should require it. She 
will know how to fulfil courageously the duty which 
her j)osition imposes upon her. I take my son 
with me ; in the midst of the army he will learn 
to serve his country. Resolved energetically to 
pursue the great mission which has been intrusted 
to me, I have faith in the success of our arms ; for 
I know that behind me France has risen to her 
feet, and that God protects her." 

On the following day, July 23, the emperor 
addressed the following proclamation to the French 
nation : — 

" Frenchmen, — There are solemn moments in 
the life of peoples, when the national sense of 
honour, violently excited, imposes itself with 
irresistible force, dominates all interests, and alone 
takes in hand the direction of the destinies of the 
country. One of those decisive hours has sounded 
for France. Prussia, towards whom both during 
and since the war of 1866 we have shown the most 
conciliatory disposition, has taken no account of 
our good wishes and our enduring forbearance. 
Launched on the path of invasion, she has provoked 
mistrust everywhere, necessitated exaggerated 
armaments, and has turned Europe into a camp, 
where reigns nothing but uncertainty and fear of 
the morrow. A last incident has come to show 
the instability of international relations, and to 
prove the gravity of the situation. In presence of 
the new pretensions of Prussia, we made known 



our protests. They were evaded, and were followed 
on the part of Prussia by contemptuous acts. Our 
country resented this treatment with profound 
irritation, and immediately a cry for war resounded 
from one end of France to the other. It only 
remains to us to leave our destinies to the decision 
of arms. 

" We do not make war on Germany, whose 
independence we respect. We wish that the 
people who compose the great German nationality 
may freely dispose of their destinies. For ourselves, 
we demand the establishment of a state of affairs 
which shall guarantee our security and assure our 
future. We wish to conquer a lasting peace, based 
on the true interests of peoples, and to put an end 
to that precarious state in which all nations employ 
their resources to arm themselves one against the 
other. The glorious flag which we once more 
unfurl before those who have provoked us, is the 
same which bore throughout Europe the civilizing 
ideas of our great revolution. It represents the 
same principles and will inspire the same devotion. 

" Frenchmen ! I am about to place myself at 
the head of that valiant army which is animated 
by love of duty and of country. It knows its own 
worth, since it has seen how victory has accompanied 
its march in the four quarters of the world. I take 
with me my son, despite his youth. He knows 
what are the duties which his name imposes upon 
him, and he is proud to bear his share in the 
dangers of those who fight for their country. May 
God bless our efforts! A great people which 
defends a just cause is invincible. 

" NAPOLEON." 



CHAPTER II. 



Unusual lull in Foreign Affairs immediately before the events which led to the Declaration of War — The determination of the French Government 
to resist the Candidature of Prince Leopold made known to the English Ambassador at Paris, and the Mediation of England solicited — 
Principles acted upon by the British Government throughout — M. Ollivier's private views of the whole matter — Lord Lyons, the English 
Ambassador at Paris, uneasy at the effect produced by the Due de Gramont's strong-worded declaration in the Corps Le"gislatif — The Due's 
explanation with regard to it — English Mediation again invoked — Interview between Lord Lyons and the Prussian Charge' d' Affaires at Paris 
— The French Ambassador in London and Lord Granville — Important Communication from the latter to Lord Augustus Loftus, the English 
Minister at Berlin, urging Prussia to endeavour to have the Prince withdrawn — Despatch to Mr. Layard, the Ambassador at Madrid, to the same 
effect — Count Bernstorff 's statement of views of the North German Government — Further despatch to Mr. Layard urging the withdrawal 
of the Prince — Surprise of Lord Lyons at the rapidity of the proceeding of the French Government — The Due de Gramont's solution of the 
question — Hopes entertained of an Amicable Arrangement — Lord Granville's regret at the tone adopted by the French Press — The matter 
as it stood on July 10, stated by the Due de Gramont — The Spanish Government's views of the whole question, and their strong Desire 
for Peace — Remarks of General Prim — State of public feeling in France — Important Interview between Lord Lyons aud the Due de 
Gramont — The former's regret that the renunciation of the Candidature of the Prince is not at once accepted, and his warning to the 
French Government — Lord Granville's representation to the French Government of the immense responsibility they were incurring — He 
also denies that he had ever admitted that the Grievances complained of by France were legitimate — Further pressing appeal by Lord 
Lyons, and another explanation of the Due de Gramont — Important statement by him in writing as to what France required to have the 
matter settled — Further appeal to Prussia — Count Bismarck's reply to the whole question — Feeling in Germany — No fear as to the result 
of a War — Tbe fatal telegram from Ems — Interesting despatch from Lord Lyons describing the change caused by it in France — Thanks 
of the French Government to England for her efforts in trying to preserve Peace — The real gravamen of the offence against France — 
Last effort made by England, under the Treaty of Paris of 1856, to prevent hostilities — Replies from both France and Prussia declining 
the proposal — Efforts made by other European Powers in the cause of Peace — Successful endeavours made by England to secure liberal 
terms for Neutrals — Proclamation of Neutrality, and notification with regard to the ships of both belligerents — Passing of a new and 
stringent Foreign Enlistment Act — Description of its chief provisions. 



Haying thus brought the course of events to the 
declaration of war, it will be better to retrace our 
steps a little, for the purpose of showing the earnest 
efforts made by the British government to avert so 
great a calamity. When, in consequence of the 
death of Lord Clarendon, Lord Granville became 
secretary of state for Foreign Affairs in July, 
1870, so little was any fear entertained in England 
of a premature disturbance of the peace of Europe, 
that Mr. Hammond, the able and experienced per- 
manent secretary at the Foreign Office, told his 
lordship he had never before known such a lull 
in foreign politics. 

The first intimation of the candidature of Prince 
Leopold was received officially in England on 
Tuesday evening, 5th July, in a telegram from 
Mr. Layard, the British ambassador at Madrid, 
stating the fact, and that it was expected he would 
be accepted by the requisite majority. A letter 
was received the next morning from Lord Lyons, 
the British ambassador at Paris, stating that the 
Due de Gramont had just informed him that France 
would not permit the selection to be carried into 
effect: she "would use her whole strength to 
prevent it." Nothing, the duke added, could be 
further from the wishes of the French government 



than to interfere in the internal affairs of Spain ; 
but the interest and dignity of France alike forbade 
them to permit the establishment of a Prussian 
dynasty in the Peninsula. They could not consent 
to a state of things which would oblige them, in 
case of war with Prussia, to keep a watch upon 
Spain which would paralyze a division of their 
army. The proposal to set the crown of Spain 
upon a Prussian head was nothing less than an 
insult to France, and with a full consideration 
of all that such a declaration implied, he said 
the government of the emperor would not en- 
dure it. 

It will thus be seen that, from the first day on 
which the matter was officially made known, the 
British government were informed that unless the 
project were relinquished war would certainly ensue. 
Nothing more would have been necessary to have 
called forth the immediate intervention of Eng- 
land, but in addition to this, the Due de Gramont 
concluded the conversation to which we have re- 
ferred by expressing to Lord Lyons his earnest hope 
that the British government would co-operate 
with that of France in endeavouring to ward 
off an event which, he said, would be fraught with 
danger to the peace of Europe. 



184 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



As will be shown in the following narrative of 
events, the principle acted upon by the British 
government throughout, and which secured for it 
the approval, not only of persons of all parties 
in England, but the thanks of both France and 
Prussia, was, that though it could not recognize 
the election of Prince Leopold as being a danger 
to France, or that France would be entitled to put it 
forward as a cause of war either against Prussia or 
Spain, yet considering the fact that France was 
violently excited on the subject, and that the im- 
perial government was fully committed to resist the 
election by force, it was a public duty to obtain 
the abandonment of the project. In the words 
of Lord Granville, who so ably conducted the 
negotiations throughout, its course was to urge 
the French government to avoid precipitation, and, 
without dictation, to impress on Prussia and Spain 
the gravity of the situation. " I felt that our 
position was very much that of trying to prevent a 
fire with inflammable materials all around, and with 
matches all ready to ignite; that it was not the 
moment to go into any elaborate inquiries as to 
who had brought the materials, or the rights and 
wrongs of the case, but that we should endeavour 
as soon as possible to remove those materials and 
to prevent one of the greatest calamities which 
could happen to the world." To this practical 
end the efforts of the English government were, 
therefore, directed, and with complete success so 
far as France had asked for its co-operation — the 
withdrawal of the prince's candidature. 

After writing his letter of the 5th of July, Lord 
Lyons attended a reception at M. Ollivier's, the 
head of the French government. The latter took 
him on one side, and spoke at some length and 
with considerable emphasis, respecting the news 
just received. His language was in substance the 
same as that held by the Due de Gramont in the 
afternoon, but he entered rather more into detail, 
and spoke with still more precision of the impossibi- 
lity of allowing the prince to become king of Spain. 
Public opinion in France, he said, would never 
tolerate it, and any government which acquiesced 
in it would be at once overthrown. For his own 
part, he said, it was well known he had never been 
an enemy to Germany ; but with all his good will 
towards the Germans, he must confess that he felt 
this proceeding to be an insult, and fully shared 
the indignation of the public. Lord Lyons urged 
that the official declaration to be made on the sub- ' 



ject in the Chamber on the following day should 
be moderate, and M. Ollivier assured him that 
it should be as mild as was compatible with the 
necessity of satisfying public opinion in France; 
but in fact, he said, our language is this, " We 
are not uneasy, because we have a firm hope that 
the thing will not be done ; but if it were to be 
done, we would not tolerate it." After this con- 
versation, Lord Lyons said, in a despatch written 
on July 7, that he hardly expected the declara- 
tion (which is given in the previous chapter) 
would have been so strongly worded as it proved 
to be. He admitted, however, that, forcible as it 
was, it did not go at all beyond the feeling of the 
country, and it was only too plain that, without 
considering how far the real interests of France 
might be in question, the nation had taken the 
proposal to place the prince of Ilohenzollern on 
the throne of Spain to be an insult and a challenge 
from Prussia. The wound inflicted by Sadowa 
on French pride had never been completely healed, 
but time was producing its reconciling effects in 
many minds when this matter had revived all the 
old animosity : both the government and the people 
had alike made it a point of honour to prevent the 
accession of the prince, and had gone too far to 
recede. Lord Lyons added, however, he did not 
believe that either the emperor or his ministers 
wished for war or even expected it: on the con- 
trary, he thought they confidently hoped they 
should succeed by pacific means in preventing the 
prince from wearing the crown of Spain, and con- 
ceived if that should be so, they should gain popu- 
larity at home by giving effect energetically to the 
feeling of the nation ; and that they should raise 
their credit abroad by a diplomatic success. They 
were, moreover, not sorry to have an opportunity 
of testing the public feeling with regard to Prussia, 
and they were convinced that it would have been 
impossible, with safety, to allow what, rightly 
or wrongly, the nation would regard as a fresh 
triumph of Prussia over France. 

In the afternoon of the same day (July 7) Lord 
Lyons had an interview with the Due de Gramont, 
and told him he could not but feel uneasy respect- 
ing the declaration which he had made the day 
before in the Corps Legislatif, and thought that 
milder language would have rendered it more easy 
to treat both with Prussia and Spain for the with- 
drawal of the pretensions of Prince Leopold. The 
duke said he was glad Lord Lyons had mentioned 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



185 



this, as he wished to have an opportunity of con- 
veying to the British government an explanation 
of his reasons for making a public declaration in 
terms so positive. As minister in a constitutional 
country, he was sure Lord Granville would per- 
fectly understand the impossibility of contending 
with public opinion, and on this point the French 
nation was so strongly roused, that its will could 
not be resisted or trifled with, and nothing less than 
what he had said would have satisfied the public. 
His speech was in fact, as regarded the internal 
peace of France, absolutely necessary ; and diplo- 
matic considerations must yield to public safety 
at home. Nor could he admit that it was simply 
the pride of France which was in question. Her 
military power was at stake, for, as king of Spain, 
Prince Leopold could make himself a military 
sovereign, and secure the means of paralyzing 
200,000 French troops, if France should be en- 
gaged in a European war. It would be madness 
to wait until this was accomplished ; if there was 
to be war it had better come at once; but he still 
trusted much to the aid of the British government, 
and by exercising their influence at Berlin and 
Madrid they would manifest their friendship for 
France, and preserve the peace of Europe. As 
regarded Prussia, the essential thing was to make 
her understand that France could not be put off 
with an evasive answer ; it was not to be credited 
that the king of Prussia had not the power to for- 
bid a prince of his family and an officer of his 
army from accepting a foreign throne. It was, 
however, in Spain that the assistance of the 
British government could be most effectually given 
to France. The regent might surely be convinced 
that it was his duty to separate himself from a 
policy which would plunge Spain into civil war, and 
cause hostilities in Europe. The same day (July 
7) Lord Lyons reported to Earl Granville a con- 
versation he had just had with the Prussian charge 
d'affaires at Paris, who considered the Due de 
Gramont's declaration to have been too hastily 
made, and expressed his belief that neither the 
king nor Count von Bismarck was aware of the offer 
of the crown to Prince Leopold ; but that he hardly 
knew what power the king of Prussia might possess 
of enforcing a renunciation, but certainly, being 
in the army, he could not leave it without the 
king's permission. Lord Lyons observed that 
much as they might deplore it, they could not 
shut their eyes to the fact that the feelings of the 



French nation would now render it impossible for 
the government, even if they wished, to acquiesce 
in the elevation of the prince to the throne. 
Neither Prussia, nor any other nation that he knew 
of, had any real interest in making the prince king 
of Spain ; but all nations were deeply interested in 
preventing war, and that nation would most deserve 
the gratitude of Europe which should put an end to 
this cause of disquiet and danger. It seemed to him, 
therefore, that the king of Prussia, more than any 
other sovereign, possessed the means of putting a 
stop to the whole imbroglio in a dignified and 
honourable manner. 

On the previous day, 6th July, M. de Lavalette, 
the French ambassador in London, had called 
on Lord Granville, and urged on him the im- 
portance of endeavouring to induce the obnoxious 
candidate to retire ; and in compliance with this 
request, the latter promised to write at once to 
Lord Augustus Loftus, the English minister at 
Berlin; but at the same time he expressed his 
regret at the strong language reported to have 
been used to the Prussian representative in Paris, 
and guarded himself against admitting that France 
was justified in her complaints. In his letter to Lord 
Augustus Loftus he said, both Mr. Gladstone and he 
himself were taken very much by surprise by the 
news received the previous evening; and although 
the British government had no wish to interfere in 
Spain or to dictate to Germany, they certainly 
hoped, and could not but believe, that this project 
of which they had hitherto been ignorant had not 
received any sanction from the king. Some of the 
greatest calamities in the world had been produced 
by small causes, and by mistakes trivial in their 
origin, and in the then state of opinion in France, 
the possession of the crown of Spain by a Prussian 
prince would be sure to lead to great and dan- 
gerous irritation. Of this, indeed, there was con- 
clusive evidence in the statements made by the 
minister to the French chamber. In Prussia it 
could be an object of no importance that a member 
of the house of Hohenzollern should occupy the 
throne of the most Catholic country in Europe. 
It was in the interest of civilization, and of Euro- 
pean peace and order, that Spain should consolidate 
her institutions ; and it was almost impossible that 
this should be accomplished if a new monarchy 
were inaugurated, which was certain to excite 
jealousy and unfriendly feelings, if not hostile acts, 
on the part of her immediate and powerful neigh- 
2 A 



186 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



bour. He therefore hoped that the king and his 
advisers would find it consistent with their views 
of what was advantageous for Spain, effectually to 
discourage a project fraught with risk to the best 
interests of that country. Lord Augustus Loftus, 
however, was cautioned to say nothing which could 
>nve ground for the supposition that the English 
government controverted, or even discussed, the 
abstract right of Spain to the choice of her own 
sovereign; and for his own information it was 
added, that they had not in any measure admitted 
that the assumption of the Spanish throne by 
Prince Leopold would justify the immediate resort 
to arms threatened by France. On that topic, 
however, he was not then to enter into communi- 
cation with the Prussian government. The ground- 
work of the representations which he was instructed 
to make was prudential. To considerations, how- 
ever, of that class, Earl Granville said he could 
not but add the reflection, that the secrecy with 
which the proceedings had been conducted as 
between the Spanish ministry and the prince who 
had been the object of their choice, seemed incon- 
sistent with the spirit of friendship or the rules 
of comity between nations, and had given, what 
the government could not but admit to be, so 
far as it went, just cause of offence. 

The following day (July 7) Lord Granville wrote 
to Mr. Layard at Madrid, calling his attention to 
the great disfavour with which the candidature of 
the prince had been received in France, and said 
that although her Majesty's government had no 
desire to recommend any particular person what- 
ever to Spain as her future sovereign, or to interfere 
in any way with the choice of the Spanish nation ; 
still, entertaining as they did the strongest wish 
for the well-being of Spain, it was impossible that 
they should not feel anxious as to the consequences 
of the step thus taken by the provisional govern- 
ment, and they therefore wished him, whilst care- 
fully abstaining from employing any language 
calculated to offend them, to use every pressure 
upon them which in his judgment might contribute 
to induce them to abandon the project. 

Similar views were urgently impressed on the 
Spanish minister in London, who called on Lord 
Granville the same day; and it was forcibly repre- 
sented to him that the step, if persevered in, might, 
on the one hand, induce great European cala- 
mities, and on the other, was almost certain to 
render the relations of Spain with a power which 



was her immediate neighbour, of a painful, if not 
a hostile character. A monarchy inaugurated 
under such auspices would not consolidate the 
new institutions of the country, and difficulties 
abroad would certainly find an echo in Spain itself. 
Senor Kances, the Spanish minister, explained that 
the project had not been intended as hostile to 
France ; that it was the natural result of other com- 
binations which had failed; and that it was to meet 
the ardent wish of the liberal party for the election 
of a king, in order to consolidate their institutions. 
He promised, however, to represent to his govern- 
ment, in as strong terms as were consistent with 
the respect due to them, the earnest wish of her 
Majesty's government, that they would act in the 
matter with a view to the maintenance of peace in 
Europe, and the future welfare of Spain. 

On July 8 Count Bernstorff, the ambassador 
of the North German Confederation at London, 
called on Lord Granville, and informed him 
that he had received letters from the king of 
Prussia, and also from Berlin and Count von 
Bismarck, from the general tenor of which it 
appeared that the reply of the North German 
government to the request first made to them by 
France, for explanation respecting the offer of the 
crown to Prince Leopold, was to the effect that 
it was not an affair which concerned the Prussian 
court. They did not pretend to interfere with 
the independence of the Spanish nation, but left 
it to the Spaniards to settle their own affairs ; 
and they were unable to give any information as 
to the negotiations which had passed between the 
provisional government of Madrid and the prince 
of Hohenzollern. He added, that the North 
German government did not wish to interfere 
with the matter, but left it to the French to adopt 
what course they pleased; and the Prussian re- 
presentative at Paris had been directed to abstain 
from taking any part in it. The North German 
government had no desire for a war of succession, 
but if France chose to commence hostilities against 
them on account of the choice of a king made by 
Spain, such a proceeding on her part would be 
an evidence of a disposition to quarrel without 
any lawful cause. It was premature, however, to 
discuss the question as long as the Cortes had not 
decided on accepting Prince Leopold as king of 
Spain ; still, if France chose to attack North 
Germany, that country would defend itself. 
Count Bernstorff went on to say that these views 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



187 



were held by the North German government, and 
also by the king of Prussia. His Majesty, he 
added, was a stranger to the negotiations with 
Prince Leopold, but he would not forbid the 
prince to accept the crown of Spain. The count 
dwelt much on the violent language of France. 
Lord Granville repeated to him the principal 
arguments of the despatch to Lord Loftus given 
above, and added that the position of North 
Germany was such that, while it need not yield 
to menace, it ought not to be swayed in another 
direction by hasty words uttered in a moment of 
great excitement. 

The same day (July 8) Lord Granville sent 
Mr. Layard copies of the despatches just received 
from Lord Lyons, showing in what a very serious 
light the matter was received by the French govern- 
ment, and how imminent was the risk of great 
calamities, if means could not be devised for avert- 
ing them. The provisional government of Spain 
would not, he was sure, wish to do anything which 
would be unnecessarily offensive to France, from 
whom they had received much consideration in 
the crisis through which their country was passing. 
In turning their thoughts to the prince of Hohen- 
zollern they probably looked at the matter in an 
exclusively Spanish, and not in a European point 
of view ; and being convinced of the necessity of 
the speedy re-establishment of a monarchy, and 
disheartened by the successive obstacles which 
they had encountered in attempting to bring it 
about, they turned their attention to a prince who 
might be ready to accept the crown, and who, in 
other respects, might be acceptable to the Spanish 
people. Her Majesty's government could quite 
understand that the excitement which their choice, 
looked at from a European point of view, had called 
forth, was unexpected by the provisional govern- 
ment, whose wish, they felt sure, could never be 
to connect the restoration of the monarchy in their 
country with a general disturbance of the peace 
of Europe, and which could not fail to be fraught 
with danger to Spain itself. The English govern- 
ment had no wish to press their own ideas upon 
the government of Spain; but they believed it 
would have been unfriendly to have abstained from 
thus laying before them some of the prudential 
reasons which seemed to them of vital importance 
to the best interests of their country. They hoped 
that their doing so would be accepted as the best 
evidence of their anxiety for the greatness and 



prosperity of Spain, and of their admiration of the 
wise course of improvement which had been 
inaugurated under the provisional government; and 
they trusted that this frank communication might 
induce the Spanish government to avoid all pre- 
cipitation, and devise some means, consistent with 
their dignity and honour, to put an end to the 
cause of dissension. 

On the same day (July 8) Lord Lyons had an 
interview with the Due de Gramont in Paris, 
when the latter expressed great satisfaction with 
a report he had received from M. de Lavalette, of 
the conversation between him and Lord Granville 
on the 6th, and desired that his best thanks 
should be conveyed to him for the friendly feeling 
he had manifested towards France. He then went 
on to say he was still without any answer from 
Prussia, and that this silence rendered it impossible 
for the French government to abstain any longer 
from making military preparations. Some steps 
in this direction had been already taken, and the 
next day the military authorities would begin in 
earnest. The movements of troops would be settled 
at the council to be held at St. Cloud in the morn- 
ing. On Lord Lyons manifesting some surprise 
and regret at the rapid pace at which the French 
government seemed to be proceeding, M. de 
Gramont insisted that it was impossible for them 
to delay any longer. They had reason to know — 
indeed, he said, the Spanish ministers did not 
deny it — that the king of Prussia had been 
cognizant of the negotiation between Marshal Prim 
and the prince of Hohenzollern from the first. 
It was therefore incumbent upon his Majesty, if 
he desired to show friendship towards France, to 
prohibit formally the acceptance of the crown by 
a prince of his house. Silence or an evasive 
answer would be equivalent to a refusal. It could 
not be said that the quarrel was of France's 
On the contrary, from the battle of 
Iowa up to this incident, France had shown 
a patience, a moderation, and a conciliatory spirit 
which had, in the opinion of a vast number of 
Frenchmen, been carried much too far. Now, 
when all was tranquil, and the irritation caused by 
the aggrandizement of Prussia was gradually sub- 
siding, the Prussians, in defiance of the feelings 
and of the interest of France, endeavoured to 
establish one of their princes beyond the Pyrenees. 
This aggression it was impossible for France to 
put up with. It was earnestly to be hoped that 



188 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



the king would efface the impression it had made, 
by openly forbidding the prince to go to Spain. 

There was another solution of the question to 
which the Due de Gramont begged Lord Lyons 
to call the particular attention of the English 
government. The prince of Hohenzollern might 
of his own accord abandon his pretensions to the 
Spanish crown. He must surely have accepted the 
offer of it in the hope of doing good to his adopted 
country. When he saw that his accession would 
bring domestic and foreign war upon his new 
country, while it would plunge the country of his 
birth, and indeed all Europe, into hostilities, he 
would certainly hesitate to make himself responsible 
for such calamities. If this view of the subject 
were pressed upon him, he could not but feel that 
honour and duty required him to sacrifice the idle 
ambition of ascending a throne on which it was 
plain he could never be secure. 

A voluntary renunciation on the part of the 
prince would, M. de Gramont thought, be a most 
fortunate solution of difficult and intricate questions ; 
and he hoped the English government would use 
all their influence to secure it. 

These views were at once communicated to Lord 
Granville, and hopes were entertained that an 
amicable arrangement of the difficulty might soon 
be found. On the next day Lord Granville wrote 
to Lord Lyons directing him to urge forbearance, 
and in another despatch, written on the same day, 
he said her Majesty's government regretted the 
tenor of the observations successively made in the 
French Chambers and in the French press, which 
tended to excite rather than allay the angry feelings 
which had been aroused in France, and might 
probably call forth similar feelings in Germany 
and Spain ; and their regret had been increased by 
the intimation now given by the Due de Gramont 
that military preparations would forthwith be 
made. Such a course, they feared, was calculated 
to render abortive the attempts which the English 
government were making to bring about an ami- 
cable settlement, and was calculated to raise the 
serious question as to the expediency of making 
any further efforts at that time for the purpose, 
which such precipitate action on the part of France 
could hardly fail to render nugatory, and of rather 
reserving such efforts for a future tune, when the 
parties most directly interested might be willing 
to second them by moderation and forbearance in 
the support of their respective views. When 



these opinions were represented to the Due de 
Gramont on the following day, he told Lord 
Lyons that in this matter the French ministers 
were following, not leading, the nation. Public 
opinion would not admit of their doing less than 
they had done. As regarded military prepara- 
tions, common prudence required that they should 
not be behindhand. In the midst of a profound 
calm, when the French cabinet and Chamber 
were employed in reducing their military budget, 
Prussia exploded upon them this mine which she 
had prepared in secret. It was necessary that 
France should be at least as forward as Prussia in 
military preparations. 

He said the question now stood exactly thus: — 
The king of Prussia had told M. Benedetti on the 
previous evening that he had in fact consented to 
the prince of Hohenzollern's accepting the crown 
of Spain; and that, having given his consent, it 
would be difficult for him now to withdraw it. 
His Majesty had added, however, that he would 
confer with the prince, and would give a definitive 
answer to France when he had done so. 

Thus, M. de Gramont observed, two things were 
clear : first, that the king of Prussia was a consent- 
ing party to the acceptance of the crown by the 
prince; and, secondly, that the prince's decision to 
persist in his acceptance, or to retire, would be 
made in concert with his Majesty, so that the 
affair was, beyond all controversy, one between 
France and the Prussian sovereign. 

The French government would, M. de Gramont 
added, defer for a short time longer (for twenty- 
four hours, for instance) those great ostensible 
preparations for war, such as calling out the 
reserves, which would inflame public feeling in 
France. All essential preparations must, however, 
be carried on unremittingly. The French ministers 
would be unwise if they ran any risk of allowing 
Prussia to gain time by dilatory pretexts. 

Finally, he told Lord Lyons that he might 
report to Lord Granville that if the prince of 
Hohenzollern should, on the advice of the king of 
Prussia, withdraw his acceptance of the crown, 
the whole affair would be at an end. He did 
not, however, conceal that if, on the other hand, 
the prince, after his conference with the king, 
persisted in coming forward as a candidate for 
the throne of Spain, France would forthwith declare 
war against Prussia. 

The next day (July 11) Lord Lyons had another 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



189 



interview with the Due de Gramont, and stated 
that the information which had been received 
from Spain and other quarters, gave good reason 
to hope that peaceful means would be found for 
putting an end, once for all, to the candidature of 
the prince; and he urged that, this being the case, 
it would be lamentable that France should rush 
into a war, the cause for which might be removed 
by a little patience. M. de Gramont replied that 
the French ministers were already violently re- 
proached, by the deputies and the public, with 
tardiness and want of spirit. Any further delay 
would seriously damage their position ; and there 
were military considerations much more important, 
which counselled immediate action. The govern- 
ment had, however, determined to make another 
sacrifice to the cause of peace. No answer had 
yet reached them from the king of Prussia. They 
would, nevertheless, wait another day, although by 
so doing they would render themselves one of the 
most unpopular governments which had ever been 
seen in France. Lord Lyons replied that the un- 
popularity would be of very short duration, and 
that the best title which the ministry could have 
to public esteem, would be to obtain a settlement 
of the question, to the honour and advantage of 
France, without bloodshed. In reporting this con- 
versation to Lord Granville, Lord Lyons stated it 
was quite true that the war party had become more 
exacting. It had, in fact, already raised a cry that 
the settlement of the Hohenzollern question would 
not be sufficient, and that France must demand 
satisfaction on the subject of the treaty of Prague. 
In a despatch from Madrid, written on July 
12, Mr. Layard said the Spanish government 
fully appreciated the consideration and friendly 
feeling of that of England, and the equitable and 
impartial tone of their despatches. They main- 
tained, however, that they had become involved 
in the difficulty most unwittingly; that they never 
entertained the remotest thought of entering into 
a Prussian alliance, or into any combination hos- 
tile or unfriendly to France ; and they were most 
desirous of withdrawing from the position in which 
they had unfortunately placed themselves, if they 
could do so consistently with the honour and dig- 
nity of the country. At Mr. Layard's request they 
promised to make a communication to this effect 
to the European powers, as they were desirous 
to come to any arrangement which might save 
Europe from the calamities of a war. In an 



interview, General Prim the same day personally 
desired Mr. Layard to thank the English govern- 
ment for its good offices, and disclaimed in the 
most energetic way any intention to take a step 
hostile to France. He said that he himself was inti- 
mately connected with France and Frenchmen; he 
had experienced great kindness from the emperor ; 
had married and had many relations in that coun- 
try; and was consequently the last man to wish to 
menace or offend France or her ruler. He also 
desired Mr. Layard to remind the English govern- 
ment of the great difficulties of his position ; that 
when, after the revolution, Spain was without a 
king, and he was going from door to door in search 
of one, no European government gave him any 
help, and that he was everywhere repulsed. But 
when the Cortes and the country had insisted upon 
having a king, and when, after having been accused 
of wishing to maintain the interregnum for personal 
objects, he had at last succeeded in finding the only 
eligible candidate, he was immediately accused of 
having laid a deep plot against France, and of 
having sought to violate the international law of 
Europe. He repudiated in the strongest terms 
any desire of secrecy in order to deceive France or 
any other power: the reserve which had been main- 
tained during the negotiations was absolutely neces- 
sary to save the country from the humiliation of 
making overtures to a fresh candidate, which 
might be again refused. 

It was on this day (July 12) that the candi- 
dature of Prince Leopold was withdrawn, and 
Lord Lyons then had another interview with 
the Due de Gramont on the subject. The latter 
said the king of Prussia was neither courteous 
nor satisfactory. His Majesty disclaimed all con- 
nection with the offer of the crown of Spain 
to the Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern, and de- 
clined to advise the prince to withdraw his accept- 
ance. On the other hand, Prince Leopold's father 
had formally announced in the name of his son 
that the acceptance was withdrawn. In fact, the 
prince had sent a copy of a telegram which he had 
despatched to Marshal Prim, declaring that his 
son's candidature was at an end. 

The duke said that this state of things was very 
embarrassing to the French government. On the 
one hand, public opinion was so much excited in 
France that it was doubtful whether the ministry 
would not be overthrown if it went down to the 
Chamber the next day, and announced that it 



190 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



regarded the affair as finished, without having 
obtained some more complete satisfaction from 
Prussia. On the other hand, the renunciation of 
the crown by Prince Leopold put an end to the 
original cause of the dispute. The most satisfactory- 
part of the affair was, he said, that Spain was, at 
all events, now quite clear of the transaction. The 
quarrel, if any quarrel existed, was confined to 
France and Prussia. 

Lord Lyons did not conceal from the Due de 
Gramont his surprise and regret that the French 
government should hesitate for a moment to accept 
the renunciation of the prince as a settlement of 
the difficulty. He reminded him pointedly of the 
assurance which he had formerly authorized him 
to give to the English government, that if the 
prince withdrew his candidature the affair would 
be terminated; and he also urged as strongly as he 
could all the reasons which would render a with- 
drawal on his part from this assurance painful 
and disquieting to that government. Moreover, 
too, he pointed out that the renunciation wholly 
changed the position of France. If war occurred, 
all Europe would say that it -was the fault of 
France ; that France rushed into it without any 
substantial cause — merely from pride and resent- 
ment. One of the advantages of the former posi- 
tion of France was, that the quarrel rested on a cause 
in which the feelings of Germany were very little 
concerned, and German interests not at all. Now 
Prussia might well expect to rally all Germany to 
resist an attack which could be attributed to no 
other motives than ill-will and jealousy on the part 
of France, and a passionate desire to humiliate 
her neighbour. In fact, Lord Lyons said, France 
would have public opinion throughout the world 
against her, and her antagonist woidd have all the 
advantage of being manifestly forced into the war 
in self-defence to repel an attack. If there should 
at the first moment be some disappointment felt in 
France, in the Chamber, and in the country, he 
could not but think that the ministry would in a 
very short time stand better with both if it con- 
tented itself with the diplomatic triumph it had 
achieved, and abstained from plunging the nation 
into a war for which there was certainly no avow- 
able motive. 

After much discussion, the Due de Gramont 
said a final resolution must be come to at a council 
which would be held in presence of the emperor the 
next day, and the result would be announced to the 



Chamber immediately afterwards. He should not, 
he said, be able to see him (Lord Lyons) between 
the council and his appearance in the Chamber, 
but he assured him that due weight should be 
given to the opinion he had offered on behalf of 
the English government. 

The result of this interview was made known at 
once to the English cabinet, and Lord Granville 
immediately wrote regretting that the renuncia- 
tion had not been accepted as a settlement of the 
question, and said he felt bound to impress upon 
the French government the immense responsibility 
which would rest on France if she should seek to 
enlarge the grounds of quarrel, by declining to 
accept the withdrawal of Prince Leopold as a 
satislactory solution of the question. With regard 
to the statement made by the Due de Gramont in 
the Corps Legislatif, that all the cabinets to which 
the French government had referred the subject 
appeared to admit that the grievances complained 
of by France were legitimate, he said such a 
statement was not applicable to her Majesty's 
government. He had expressed regret at an 
occurrence which had, at all events, given rise 
to great excitement in the imperial government 
and French nation; but he had carefully abstained 
from admitting that the cause was sufficient to 
warrant the intentions which had been announced, 
while, at the same time, he had deprecated pre- 
cipitate action, and recommended that no means 
should be left untried by which any interruption 
of the general peace could be averted. 

In an interview with the French ambassador 
the same day (July 13), Lord Granville earnestly 
entreated him to represent to his government 
that her Majesty's government thought, after their 
exertions at the request of France, they had a 
right to urge on the imperial government not to 
take the great responsibility of quarrelling about 
forms, when they had obtained the full substance 
of what they desired, and which M. de Gramont 
had told Lord Lyons, if obtained, would put an 
end to everything. All the nations of Europe 
had now declared their ardent wish that peace 
should be maintained between Prussia and France, 
and her Majesty's government believed that the 
imperial government would not give the slightest 
pretence to those who might endeavour to show 
that France was desirous of going to war without 
an absolute necessity. 

The same day Lord Lyons, in a letter which 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



191 



was sent specially to St. Cloud, and delivered at 
the table at which the ministers were still sitting 
in council, in the presence of the emperor, again 
urged upon the Due de Gramont in the most 
friendly, but at the same time most pressing, 
manner, to accept the renunciation of the prince 
as a satisfactory settlement ; and in a personal 
interview with him in the afternoon — just 
after his statement in the Corps Legislatif, that 
although the candidature of the prince was 
withdrawn, the negotiations with Prussia were 
not concluded — he expressed his surprise and 
regret that his declaration to the Chamber had 
not consisted of a simple announcement that 
the whole question with Prussia, as well as 
with Spain, was peaceably settled. The duke said 
he would explain in a few words the position taken 
up by the government of the emperor. The Spanish 
ambassador had formally announced to him that 
the candidature of Prince Leopold had been with- 
drawn. This put an end to all question with 
Spain. Spain was no longer a party concerned. 
But from Prussia France had obtained nothing, 
literally nothing. He then read to Lord Lyons 
a telegram, stating that the emperor of Russia had 
written to the king of Prussia soliciting him to order 
the prince of Hohenzollern to withdraw his accept- 
ance of the crown, and had, moreover, expressed 
himself in most friendly terms to France, and 
manifested a most earnest desire to avert a war. 
The king of Prussia, M. de Gramont went on 
to say, had refused to comply with this request from 
his imperial nephew, and had not given a word 
of explanation to France. His Majesty had, he 
repeated, done nothing, absolutely nothing. France 
would not take offence at this. She would not 
call upon his Majesty to make her any amends. 
The king had authorized the prince of Hohenzollern 
to accept the crown of Spain ; all that France now 
asked was, that his Majesty would forbid the prince 
to alter at any future time his decision. Surely 
it was but reasonable that France should take 
some precautions against a repetition of what 
had occurred when Prince Leopold's brother re- 
paired to Bucharest. It was not to be supposed 
that France would run the risk of Prince Leopold 
suddenly presenting himself in Spain, and appeal- 
ing to the chivalry of the Spanish people. Still 
France did not call upon Prussia to prevent the 
prince from going to Spain ; all she desired was 
that the king should forbid him to change his 



present resolution to withdraw his candidature. If 
his Majesty would do this, the whole affair would 
be absolutely and entirely at an end. 

Lord Lyons asked him whether he authorized 
him categorically to state to his government, in 
the name of the government of the emperor, that 
in this case the whole difficulty would be com- 
pletely disposed of. He said, " Undoubtedly;" and 
on a sheet of paper wrote the following memoran- 
dum, which he placed in the hand of the English 
ambassador : — 

" Nous demandons au roi de Prusse de deTendre 
au prince de Hohenzollern de revenir sur sa reso- 
lution. S'il le fait, tout l'incident est termine." 
(" We ask the king of Prussia to forbid the prince 
of Hohenzollern to alter his resolution. If he 
does so, the whole matter is settled." ) 

Lord Lyons observed to the duke that he could 
hardly conceive the French government really 
apprehended that, after all that had occurred, 
Prince Leopold would again offer himself as a 
candidate, or be accepted by the Spanish govern- 
ment if he did; to which the duke replied that he 
was bound to take precautions against such an 
occurrence, and that if the king refused to issue 
the simple prohibition which was demanded, France 
could only suppose that designs hostile to her 
were entertained, and must take her measures 
accordingly. Finally, he asked whether France 
could count upon the good offices of England to 
help her in obtaining from the king this prohibi- 
tion ; to which Lord Lyons said that nothing could 
exceed the desire of her Majesty's government to 
effect a reconciliation between France and Prussia, 
but that, of course, he could not take upon himself 
to answer offhand, without reference to the govern- 
ment, a specific question of that kind. 

The substance of this was at once telegraphed 
to Lord Granville, and the following day Lord 
Lyons was informed that, in the opinion of the 
English government, a demand on Prussia for 
an engagement covering the future could not 
be justly made by France. Nevertheless, and 
although they considered that France, having 
obtained the substance of what she required, ought 
not in any case to insist to extremities upon the 
form in which it was obtained, they had at once 
and urgently recommended to the king of Prussia, 
that if the French demand was waived, he should 
communicate to France his consent to the re- 
nunciation of Prince Leopold. This renunciation 



192 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



had been placed before the king on behalf of the 
English government, in the following terms; 
namely, that as his Majesty had consented to the 
acceptance by Prince Leopold of the Spanish 
crown, and had thereby, in a certain sense, become 
a party to the arrangement, so he might with 
perfect dignity communicate to the French 
government his consent to the withdrawal of the 
acceptance, if France should waive her demand for 
an engagement covering the future. Such a com- 
munication, made at the suggestion of a friendly 
power, would be a further and the strongest proof 
of the king's desire for the maintenance of the 
peace of Europe. 

On July 13 Lord Augustus Loftus had an inter- 
view with Count von Bismarck, and congratulated 
him on the apparent solution of the crisis by the 
spontaneous renunciation of the prince of Hohen- 
zollern. The count, however, appeared somewhat 
doubtful as to whether this solution would prove a 
settlement of the difference with France. He told 
Lord Augustus Loftus that the extreme moderation 
evinced by the king of Prussia under the menacing 
tone of the French government, and the courteous 
reception by his Majesty of Count Benedetti at 
Ems, after the severe language held to Prussia 
both officially and in the French press, was pro- 
ducing throughout Prussia general indignation. 
He had that morning, he said, received telegrams 
from Bremen, Konigsberg, and other places, ex- 
pressing strong disapprobation of the conciliatory 
course pursued by the king of Prussia at Ems, and 
requiring that the honour of the country should 
not be sacrificed. 

The count then expressed a wish that the Eng- 
lish government should take some opportunity, 
possibly by a declaration in Parliament, of express- 
ing their satisfaction at the solution of the Spanish 
difficulty by the spontaneous act of Prince Leopold, 
and of bearing public testimony to the calm and 
wise moderation of the king of Prussia, his govern- 
ment, and of the public press. He adverted to 
the declaration made by the Due de Grammont to 
the Corps Legislatif, " that the powers of Europe 
had recognized the just grounds of France in the 
demand addressed to the Prussian government ; " 
and he was, therefore, anxious that some public 
testimony should be given that the powers who had 
used their " bons offices" to urge on the Prussian 
government a renunciation by Prince Leopold, 
should likewise express their appreciation of the 



peaceful and conciliatory disposition manifested by 
the king of Prussia. He added that intelligence had 
been received from Paris (though not officially from 
Baron Werther), to the effect that the solution of 
the Spanish difficulty would not suffice to content 
the French government, and that other claims 
would be advanced. If such were the case, he 
said, it was evident that the question of the suc- 
cession to the Spanish throne was but a mere 
pretext, and that the real object of France was to 
seek a revenge for Koniggratz. 

The feeling of the German nation, said Count von 
Bismarck, was that they were fully equal to cope 
with France, and they were as confident as the 
French might be of military success. The con- 
viction, therefore, in Prussia and in Germany was, 
that they should accept no humiliation or insult 
from France, and that, if unjustly provoked, they 
should accept the combat. But, said he, we do 
not wish for war, and we have proved, and shall 
continue to prove, our peaceful disposition; at the 
same time we cannot allow the French to have 
the start of us as regards armaments. He had, 
said he, positive information that military prepara- 
tions had been made, and were making, in France 
for war. Large stores of munition were being 
concentrated, large purchases of hay and other 
materials necessary for a campaign being made, 
and horses rapidly collected. If these continued, 
they should be obliged to ask the French govern- 
ment for explanations as to their object and mean- 
ing. After what had occurred they would be 
compelled to require some assurance, some guar- 
antee, that they would not be subjected to a sudden 
attack ; and must know that this Spanish difficulty 
once removed, there were no other lurking designs 
which might burst upon them like a thunderstorm. 

The count further stated that unless some 
such assurance were given by France to the 
European powers, or in an official form, that 
the present solution of the Spanish question 
was a final and satisfactory settlement of the 
French demands, and that no further claims would 
be raised ; and if, further, a withdrawal or a 
satisfactory explanation of the menacing language 
held by the Due de Gramont were not made, 
the Prussian government would be obliged to seek 
explanations from France. It was impossible, he 
said, that Prussia could rest, tamely and quietly, 
under the affront offered to the king and to the 
nation by the insulting language of the French 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



193 



government. He could not, lie said, hold com- 
munication with the French ambassador after the 
menaces addressed to Prussia by the French minis- 
ter for Foreign Affairs in the face of Europe. In 
communicating these views to Lord Granville, Lord 
Augustus Loftus said he would perceive that unless 
some timely counsel, or friendly hand, could inter- 
vene to appease the irritation between the two 
governments, the breach, in lieu of being closed by 
the solution of the Spanish difficulty, was likely 
to become wider. It was evident to him, he said, 
that Count von Bismarck and the Prussian minis- 
try regretted the courteous attitude and modera- 
tion shown by the king towards Count Benedetti, 
thinking that after the menacing language used in 
France with regard to Prussia he ought not to 
have received him at all ; and in view of the public 
opinion of Germany, they felt the necessity of 
taking some decided measures for the safeguard 
and honour of the nation. The only means, he 
thought, which could pacify the wounded pride 
of the German nation, and restore confidence in 
the maintenance of peace, would be a declara- 
tion of the French government that the incident 
of the Spanish difficulty had been satisfactorily 
adjusted; and in rendering justice to the moderate 
and peaceful disposition of the king of Prussia 
and his government, a formal statement that the 
good relations existing between the two states 
were not likely to be again exposed to any dis- 
turbance. He greatly feared that if no mediating 
influences could be successfully brought to bear 
on the French government to appease the irritation 
against Prussia, and to counsel moderation, war 
would be inevitable. 

These views from Prussia were communicated 
to the English Foreign Office on 13th July, but 
did not reach there until the 15th. As previously 
stated, on the previous- day, 14th July, Lord 
Granville had telegraphed to Berlin, and recom- 
mended the king of Prussia to communicate to 
France his consent to Prince Leopold's renunci- 
ation, if, on her part, France would withdraw her 
demand of a guarantee for the future. The sug- 
gestion was declined ; and Count von Bismarck 
expressed his regret that her Majesty's government 
should have made a proposal which it would be 
impossible for him to recommend to the king for 
his acceptance. In justification of the reasonable- 
ness of the plan suggested by the English govern- 
ment it should, however, be stated, that when the 



facts became rightly known it transpired that, in 
his communication with M. Benedetti at Ems on 
the previous day, as described in the preceding 
chapter, the king had himself voluntarily taken the 
identical course they recommended. When declin- 
ing the suggestion, Count von Bismarck told Lord 
Augustus Loftus that Prussia had shown, under a 
public menace from France, a calmness and modera- 
tion which would render further concession on her 
part equivalent to a submission to the arbitrary will 
of her rival, and would be viewed as a humiliation 
which the national feeling throughout Germany 
would certainly repudiate. Under the irritation 
caused by the menaces of France, the whole of 
Germany had arrived at the conclusion that war, 
even under the most difficult circumstances, would 
be preferable to the submission of their king to any 
further demands. The Prussian government, as 
such, had nothing to do with the acceptance of the 
candidature of Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern, 
and had not even been cognizant of it. They 
could not, therefore, balance their assent to such 
acceptance by their assent to its withdrawal. A 
demand for interference on the part of a sovereign 
in a matter of purely private character could not, 
they considered, be made the subject of pubfic 
communication between governments ; and as the 
original pretext for such a demand was to be found 
in the candidature itself, it could no longer be 
necessary now that the candidature had been 
renounced. 

The fatal telegram, detailing the supposed insult 
to the French ambassador at Ems, arrived in Paris 
on July 13, and in a despatch sent on the follow- 
ing day Lord Lyons thus reported the change 
which immediately occurred in public feeling : — 

"Paek, July 14, 1870. 

" My Lord,- — In my despatch of yesterday I com- 
municated to your lordship the account given to 
me by the Due de Gramont of the state of the 
question regarding the acceptance of the crown of 
Spain by Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern, and the 
recent withdrawal of that acceptance. 

" My despatch was sent off at the usual hour, 
7 o'clock in the evening. During the early part 
of the night which followed, the hope that it 
might yet be possible to preserve peace gained 
some strength. It was understood that the re- 
nunciation of his pretensions by Prince Leopold 
himself had come to confirm that made on his 
2b 



194 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



behalf by liia father, and that the Spanish govern- 
ment had formally declared to the government of 
France that the candidature of the prince was at 
an end. The language of influential members of 
the cabinet was more pacific, and it was thought 
possible that some conciliatory intelligence might 
arrive from Prussia, and enable the government 
to pronounce the whole question to be at an end. 

"But in the morning all was changed. A 
telegram was received from the French charge 
d'affaires at Berlin, stating that an article had 
appeared in the Prussian ministerial organ, the 
North German Gazette, to the effect that the 
French ambassador had requested the king to 
promise never to allow a Hohenzollern to be a 
candidate for the throne of Spain, and that his 
Majesty had thereupon refused to receive the am- 
bassador, and sent him word by an aide-de-camp 
that he had nothing more to say to him. 

"The intelligence of the publication of this article 
completely changed the view taken by the French 
government of the state of the question. The 
emperor came into Paris from St. Cloud, and held 
a council at the Tuileries ; and it was considered 
certain that a declaration hostile to Prussia would 
be addressed at once by the government to the 
Chambers. 

" I made every possible endeavour to see the Due 
de Gramont, but was unable to do so. I sent 
him, however, a most pressing message by the 
chief of his cabinet, begging liim, in the name of 
her Majesty's government, not to rush precipitately 
into extreme measures, and, at all events, not to 
commit the government by a premature declaration 
to the Chambers. It would, I represented, be more 
prudent, and at the same time more dignified, to 
postpone addressing the Chambers at least until 
the time originally fixed — that is to say, until 
to-morrow. 

" In the meantime, although the news of the 
appearance of the article in the North German 
Gazette had not become generally known, the 
public excitement was so great, and so much irri- 
tation existed in the army, that it became doubtful 
whether the government could withstand the cry 
for war, even if it were able to announce a decided 
diplomatic success. It was felt that when the 
Prussian article appeared in the Paris evening 
papers it would be very difficult to restrain the 
anger of the people, and it was generally thought 
that the government would feel bound to appease 



the public impatience by formally declaring its 
intention to resent the conduct of Prussia. 

" The sittings of the Legislative Body and the 
Senate have, however, passed over without any 
communication being made on the subject, and 
thus no irretrievable step has yet been taken by 
the government. 

"I cannot, however, venture to give your lord- 
ship any hope that war will now be avoided. I 
shall continue to do all that is possible, in the 
name of her Majesty's government, to avert this 
great calamity ; but I am bound to say that there 
is the most serious reason to apprehend that an 
announcement nearly equivalent to a declaration 
of war will be made in the Chambers to-morrow. 
Ihave,&c, llLY0NS _- 

Tne next day M. Ollivier made, in the Corps 
Legislatif, a statement equivalent to a declaration 
of war; and shortly afterwards Lord Lyons had 
another interview with the Due de Gramont, 
when the latter desired him to express to the British 
government the thanks of the government of the 
emperor for the friendly endeavours which they 
had made to effect a satisfactory solution of the 
question with Prussia. The good offices of her 
Majesty's ministers had, however, he said, been 
made of no effect by the last acts of the Prussian 
government, who had deliberately insulted 
France by declaring to the public that the 
king had affronted the French ambassador. It 
was evidently the intention of the government of 
Prussia to take credit with the people of Germany 
for having acted with haughtiness and discourtesy, 
to humiliate France. Not only had the statement 
so offensive to France been published by the govern- 
ment in its accredited newspaper, but it had been 
communicated officially by telegraph to the Prussian 
agents throughout Europe. Until this had been 
done, the duke said, the negotiation had been par- 
ticularly private. It had, from the peculiar cir- 
cumstances of the case, been carried on directly 
with the king of Prussia. The Prussian minister for 
foreign affairs, Count von Bismarck, had been in the 
country, and it had been impossible to approach him. 
The acting minister, Plerr von Tliiele, professed 
to know nothing of the subject, and to consider 
it as a matter concerning, not the Prussian govern- 
ment, but the king personally. Although the 
distinction was not in principle admissible, still it 
obliged France to treat with the king directly, and 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



195 



the French ambassador had been sent to wait upon 
his Majesty at Ems. The negotiation had not 
proceeded satisfactorily, but so long as it remained 
private there were hopes of bringing it to a satis- 
factory conclusion. Nor, indeed, had the king- 
really treated M. Benedetti with the rough dis- 
courtesy which had been boasted of by the Prussian 
government. But that government had now chosen 
to declare to Germany and to Europe, that France 
had been affronted in the person of her ambassador. 
It was this boast which was the gravamen of the 
offence. It constituted an insult which no nation 
of any spirit could brook, and rendered it, much to 
the regret of the French government, impossible 
to take into consideration the mode of settling the 
original matter in dispute which was recommended 
by the English cabinet. 

Lord Lyons having, at Lord Granville's request, 
called the attention of the duke to the statement 
made by him in the Chamber, that all the cabinets 
to whom he had applied had appeared to admit that 
the complaints of France were legitimate; the 
duke affirmed that he certainly intended to include 
the government of Great Britain in the statement, 
and that he must confess he still thought that he 
was perfectly justified in doing so. In fact, he 
said, the friendly efforts made, under Lord Gran- 
ville's instructions, by her Majesty's minister at 
Madrid to get the candidature of Prince Leopold 
set aside, and the representations made for the 
same purpose by her Majesty's government in other 
countries, surely indicated that they considered 
that France had reason to complain of the selection 
of this prince, and the circumstances which had 
attended it. 

Lord Lyons reminded the duke that the English 
government had throughout carefully abstained 
from admitting that this matter was sufficient to 
warrant a resort to extreme measures: to which 
he replied, that neither did his statement in the 
Chamber imply that the governments to which he 
alluded had made any such admission. The state- 
ment had been made at a comparatively early stage 
of the negotiation, and before the insult which had 
rendered extreme measures necessary. Finally, he 
said, he knew the English way of proceeding, and 
was aware that the English detested war, and there- 
fore were not disposed to look favourably upon those 
who were the first to commence hostilities. Still, he 
trusted that France would not lose the sympathy 
of England. Lord Lyons said that if her Majesty's 



government had not been able to take exactly the 
same view of this unhappy dispute as the govern- 
ment of the emperor, he thought that they had, 
nevertheless, given most substantial proofs of 
friendship in the earnest endeavours they had made 
to obtain satisfaction for France. He could not 
deny that her Majesty's government had reason to 
feel disappointed, not to say hurt. They had 
been led to believe that the withdrawal of the 
prince of Hohenzollern from all pretensions to the 
crown of Spain was all that France desired. They 
had exerted themselves to the utmost to obtain 
this, and were then told that France required 
more. However this might be, there was, he 
said in conclusion, most certainly no diminution of 
the friendly feeling which had now for so many 
years existed between the two governments and 
the two nations. 

As a last resource, on 15th July Lord Granville 
wrote simultaneously to the English ambassadors 
at Paris and Berlin, expressing his deep regret 
that the breaking out of war between the two 
countries seemed imminent. But being anxious 
not to neglect the slightest chance of averting it, 
the English government appealed to the twenty- 
third protocol of the conferences held at Paris in 
the year 1856, in which " Les plenipotentiaries 
n'hesitent pas a exprimer, au nom de leurs gou- 
vernements, le vceu que les etats entre lesquels 
s'eleverait un dissentiment s^rieux, avant d'en 
appeler aux armes, eussent recours, en tant que les 
circonstances admettraient, aux bons offices d'une 
puissance amie." ["The plenipotentiaries do not 
hesitate to express, in the name of their govern- 
ments, their strong desire that states between 
which any serious difference may arise, before 
appealing to arms, should have recourse, so far as 
circumstances will admit, to the good offices of a 
friendly power."] And they felt themselves the 
more warranted in doing so, inasmuch as the ques- 
tion in regard to which the two powers were at 
issue had been brought within narrow limits. 

Her Majesty's government, therefore, suggested 
to France and to Prussia, in identical terms, that 
before proceeding to extremities they should have 
recourse to the good offices of some friendly power 
or powers acceptable to both ; the English govern- 
ment being ready to take any part which might be 
desired in the matter. 

This well-intentioned effort on the part of Eng- 
land was decisively but courteously rejected by 



196 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR 



both countries. M. de Gramont thanked the 
English government for the sentiment which had 
prompted the step, but said he must recall to their 
mind that in recording their wish in the protocols, 
the Congress of Paris did not profess to impose 
it in an imperative manner on the powers, which 
alone remained the judges of the requirements 
of their honour and their interests. This was 
expressly laid down by Lord Clarendon, after the 
observations offered by the Austrian plenipo- 
tentiary. However disposed they might be to 
accept the good offices of a friendly power, and 
especially England, France could not now accede 
to the offer of the cabinet of London. In face of 
the refusal of the king of Prussia to give the French 
government the guarantees which his policy had 
forced them to demand, in order to prevent the 
recurrence of dynastic aims dangerous to their 
security, and of the offence which the cabinet of 
Berlin had added to this refusal, the care of the 
dignity of France allowed no other course. At 
the eve of a rupture which the kind efforts of 
friendly powers had been unable to avert, public 
opinion in England would, he believed, recognize 
that under the circumstances the emperor's 
government had no longer a choice in its decisions. 
On the other hand, Count Bismarck said, the king 
of Prussia's sincere love of peace, which no one 
had had a better opportunity of knowing than the 
English government, rendered him at all times 
disposed to accept any negotiation which had for 
its object to secure peace on a basis acceptable to 
the honour and national convictions of Germany ; 
but the possibility of entering into a negotiation 
of this nature could only be acquired by a previous 
assurance of the willingness of France to enter into 
it also. France took the initiative in the direction 
of war, and adhered to it after the first com- 
plication had, in the opinion even of England, 
been settled by the removal of its cause. If 
Prussia were now to take the initiative in negotiat- 
ing, it would be misunderstood by the national 
feelings of Germany, excited as they had been by 
the menaces of France. 

In addition to the unceasing efforts of Eng- 
land for the preservation of peace, endeavours 
in the same direction were made by Russia, 
Austria, and Italy. Count Beust, the Austrian 
minister, also told Lord Bloomfield, our ambassador 
at Vienna, that perhaps no one was better able to 
judge of the state of feeling in the South German 



states than himself; and he was convinced that if 
France counted on the sympathies of those states, 
she would make a great mistake. With a view, 
therefore, to discourage her from looking to any- 
thing like support from that quarter, he had thought 
it well, in the interests of peace, to bring this 
conviction to her knowledge. 

"War having thus been actually brought about, 
notwithstanding all they had done to avert it, 
the English government turned their attention 
to securing the rights of neutrals. Renewed 
assurances that the neutrality of Belgium, Hol- 
land, and Switzerland would be respected were 
given by both France and Prussia. Time was also 
requested for neutral vessels, and protection for 
neutral property ; and both powers at once conceded 
everything on those points that could, with good 
grace, be asked. French vessels which were in 
German ports at the beginning of the war, or 
which entered such ports subsequently, before 
being informed of the outbreak, were allowed to 
remain six weeks, reckoned from the outbreak of 
the war, and to take in their cargoes, or to unload 
them. In France the period allowed was thirty 
days. They were provided with safe-conducts to 
enable them to return freely to their ports, or to 
proceed direct to their destination. Vessels which 
had shipped cargoes for France, and on account 
of French subjects, in enemy's or neutral ports 
previously to the declaration of war, were declared 
to be not liable to capture, but were allowed to 
land freely their cargoes in ports of the empire, 
and to receive safe-conducts to return to the ports 
to which they belonged. The French government, 
however, declined to extend to the enemy's vessels, 
with neutral cargoes, the same privileges granted 
to them with French cargoes. It was also agreed 
that the following stipulations, agreed to at the 
treaty of Paris in 1856, should be recognized by 
both countries during the war: — 

1. Privateering is, and remains, abolished. 

2. The neutral flag covers enemy's goods, with 
the exception of contraband of war. 

3. Neutral goods, with the exception of con- 
traband of war, are not liable to capture under 
enemy's flag. 

4. Blockades, in order to be binding, must be 
effective, that is to say, maintained by a force 
sufficient really to prevent access to the coast of 
the enemy. 

On ] 9th July a proclamation of strict neu- 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



197 



trality was issued by the English government, 
in which the queen's subjects were expressly for- 
bidden to equip or arm any vessel for the use of 
either belligerent, and warning all who should 
attempt to break any blockade lawfully established 
that they would rightfully be liable to hostile 
capture, and the penalties awarded by the law 
of nations in that respect, and would obtain no 
protection whatever from the government. 

A notification was also isssued from the Foreign 
Office, stating that no ship of war, of either belli- 
gerent, would be permitted to take in any supplies 
at any port in the United Kingdom or her colonies, 
except provisions and such other things as might 
be requisite for the subsistence of her crew, and 
only sufficient coal to carry such vessel to the 
nearest port of her own country, or to some nearer 
destination. All ships of war were prohibited 
from making use of any port or roadstead in the 
United Kingdom, or her colonial possessions, as a 
station or resort for any warlike purpose ; and no 
vessel of war was to be permitted to leave any port 
she might have entered for necessary supplies, from 
which any vessel of the other belligerent (whether 
the same were a ship of war or a merchant ship) 
should have left at least twenty-four hours. 

As an additional proof of the sincerity of their 
desire to remain thoroughly neutral during the 
struggle, and to prevent the possibility of any 
justifiable complaint from either belligerent, the 
government introduced and carried a new Foreign 
Enlistment Act, which went far beyond any law 
ever before passed in any country for the purpose 
of enforcing neutrality, and involved a total revo- 
lution in the ideas of English statesmen with 
regard to the duties of neutrals. The chief pro- 
visions of the Act are, that a penalty of fine and 
imprisonment, or both, at the discretion of the 
court, may be imposed for enlistment in the mili- 
tary or naval service of any foreign state at war 
with any state at peace with her Majesty, or 
inducing any other person to accept such service. 
Similar penalties are imposed for leaving her 
Majesty's dominions with intent to serve a foreign 
state, or for embarking persons under false repre- 
sentations as to service. Any master or owner of 
a ship who knowingly receives on board his ship, 
within her Majesty's dominions, any person illegally 
enlisted under any of the circumstances above 
described, is made liable to fine and imprisonment; 
his ship may be detained tiU all the penalties have 



been paid, or security given for them; and the 
illegally enlisted persons are to be taken on shore, 
and not allowed to return to the ship. The object 
of these latter clauses is, of course, to strike at the 
former practice of hiring men for an ostensibly 
peaceful and legal service, and afterwards, with or 
without their connivance, employing them in a 
military or naval expedition. 

But the most interesting and important division 
of the Act is that which relates to illegal ship- 
building and illegal expeditions. As in the 
previous Act, it is declared to be an offence to 
commission, equip, or despatch any ship with intent 
or knowledge, or having reasonable cause to believe, 
that the same will be employed in the military or 
naval service of any foreign state at war with any 
friendly state. The offender is punishable by fine 
and imprisonment; and the ship, in respect of 
which any such offence is committed, with the 
equipment, is to be held forfeited to her Majesty. 
But over and above this the new Act embodies a 
provision, making the building of a vessel under 
such circumstances an offence in itself; and what 
is more, the onus of disproof lies with the builder : 
— " Where any ship is built by order of or on 
behalf of any foreign state at war with a friendly 
state, or is delivered to or to the order of such 
foreign state, or any agent of such state, or is paid 
for by such foreign state or their agent, and is 
employed in the military or naval service of such 
state, such ship shall, until the contrary is 
proved, be deemed to have been built with a view 
to being so employed, and the burden shall 
lie on the builder of such ship of proving that 
he did not know that the ship was intended 
to be so employed in the military or naval 
service of such foreign state." Further, it is 
declared an offence to augment the warlike 
force of any ship for the use of a belligerent. 
These clauses are intended to check the practice 
adopted during the American war of building or 
fitting out a vessel in this country and then send- 
in<* her either out to sea, or to some other neutral 
port, to take on board an armament sent to meet 
her in some other ship. No distinction of this 
kind as to time or place will, under the new Act, 
suffice to elude the law. The mere building of a 
ship with the intent or knowledge that it is after- 
wards to be equipped and used for purposes of war 
against a state with whom we are at peace, is 
ranked as an offence, quite apart from the actual 



198 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



equipment and despatch of the ship for this 
purpose. The defects of the law were strikingly 
illustrated by the two cases of the Alabama and 
the rams. While the former escaped, because the 
authorities had not authority to seize her, even 
though her intended use and destination were 
perfectly notorious, in the other instance the 
government took the law into their own hands, 
and arbitrarily seized the rams on their own 
responsibility. The law is now sufficient to meet 
all cases of this description, and to spare the 
authorities any necessity of straining it, in order to 
discharge the obligations of a neutral. This branch 
of the measure is completed by two other clauses, 
enacting that illegal ships shall not be received in 
British ports, and making it an offence, punishable 
with fine and imprisonment, to prepare or fit 
out, or in any way assist in preparing, any 
naval or military expedition to proceed against 
the dominions of a friendly state; all ships form- 
ing part of such an expedition being forfeited to 
the crown. 

The remaining clauses of the Act relate to the 
legal procedure in regard to the offences described, 
the courts which are to try cases, the officers 
authorized to seize offending ships, &c. A special 
power is given to the secretary of state, or chief 
executive authority, to issue a warrant to detain 
a ship, if " satisfied that there is a reasonable and 



probable cause for believing " that it is being 
built, equipped, or despatched for an illegal pur- 
pose. The owner of a ship so detained may apply 
to the Court of Admiralty for its release, and if 
he can show that the ship was not intended for 
the use suspected it will be restored to him. If 
he fails in this proof the secretary of state will be 
at liberty to detain the vessel as long as he pleases ; 
the court having, however, a discretionary power 
to release the vessel on the owner giving security 
that it shall not be employed contrary to the Act. 
If there has been no reasonable cause lor detention, 
the owner will be entitled to an indemnity to be 
assessed by the court. The " local authority " 
may also detain a suspected ship until reference 
can be made to the secretary of state or chief 
executive authority. The secretary of state may 
issue a search warrant in any dockyard in the 
queen's dominions, and he is to be held free from 
legal proceedings in connection with any warrant 
he may issue, and is not bound to give evidence 
as a witness except with his own consent. The 
decision of the important question whether a ship 
is or is not rightly suspected, is withdrawn from 
the cognizance of a jury and submitted to the 
consideration of a judge, so that there can be none 
of those failures of justice which formerly took 
place in consequence of the misdirected patriotism 
of juries. 



CHAPTER III. 



Important Statement of the French Emperor — He declares that he neither expected nor was prepared for War, bnt that France had slipped 
out of his hands — A thoroughly National War — His Version of a very important conversation with Count von Bismarck — Publication of a 
Proposed Secret Treaty between France and Prussia, by which France was to acquire Luxemburg by purchase and conquer Belgium with the 
Assistance of Prussia, on Condition of not interfering with the Plans of Prussia in Germany — Great Excitement on the Subject in England 
and Belgium — Statements of the English Government in both Houses of Parliament — Manly Speech of Mr. Disraeli — Letter from M. 
Ollivier, the Head of the French Government, repudiating the Treaty — General State of Feeling on the Question in France — Explanation 
of the Journal Officiel—lhe Prussian Version of the Transaction — Other Propositions of a Similar Nature made by France to Prussia 
divulged, including an offer of 300,000 men to assist in a War against Austria, in return for the Rhenish Provinces — Continued Efforts 
of France to " lead Prussia into Temptation " — Count von Bismarck's Reasons for not divulging the Proposals at the time they were made — 
Explanation of M. Benedetti, the Proposer of the Secret Treaty — He states that it was well known that Prussia offered to assist France 
in acquiring Belgium in return for her own Aggrandisement — Such Overtures persistently declined by the French Government — The 
Secret Treaty written at the Dictation of Count von Bismarck — The Proposals rejected by the French Emperor as soon as they came to his 
Knowledge — Count von Bismarck's only Reason for publishing them must have been to mislead Public Opinion — French Official Explanation 
on the same Subject from the Due de Gramont — The idea of France appropriating Belgium a purely Prussian one, to avert Attention 
from the Rhine Provinces — Offer of Prussian Assistance to accomplish it — The Emperor steadily refused to entertain the Idea — Emphatic 
Denial that France intended to offer to conclude Peace on the Basis of the Secret Treaty if it had not been published — Proposals made by 
France to Prussia through Lord Clarendon to reduce their Armaments — The Proposition rejected by the King of Prussia — Further 
Proofs adduced by Prussia against France — Anxiety in England — Action taken by the Government — £2,000,000 and 20,000 men 
enthusiastically voted by the House of Commons — Great Debate on the whole Matter — Mr. Disraeli stigmatises the Pretext for War as 
"Disgraceful," and Proposes an Alliance with Russia — Guarded Statement of Mr. Gladstone — Dissatisfaction at it in the House — 
Spirited Speech of Lord Russell in the House of Lords in Favour of supporting Belgium at all Cost — Reassuring reply of Lord Granville — 
Important Statements in both Houses of Parliament by the Government as to the Course they had adopted, and Comments thereon — The 
Complete Text of New Treaty agreed on to preserve the Neutrality of Belgium— Feeling of Reassurance in England— Altered State 
of Feeling in Austria towards France — Biographical Notices of Count vou Bismarck and M. Benedetti. 



In the two preceding chapters the circumstances 
connected with the war have been consecutively 
described from the 5th July, when the first 
official announcement of Prince Leopold's candid- 
ature reached England and France, to the 23rd 
July — a week subsequent to the actual declara- 
tion of war by France. Immediately this event 
took place, both countries commenced massing 
troops on their respective frontiers, and were 
so engaged for the next fortnight. Only a few 
slight skirmishes, however, took place between 
the reconnoitring parties of the two armies; and 
before proceeding to describe the more stirring 
events of the contest, we must, in order to continue 
the narrative of events consecutively, devote a 
chapter to the now celebrated " Secret Treaty" — 
a document which for a time excited even more 
interest in England than the war itself, and which 
led to some important steps being adopted by the 
British Parliament. 

Simultaneously with the publication of the 
Treaty (Monday, 25th July) another communi- 
cation was published, which would doubtless have 
created much more attention than it did had it not 
been that everything else was, for a time, to a great 



extent overlooked. We, however, reproduce it 
here, before describing the treaty, and shall then 
have no further cause to refer to it. It was an 
account of an interview with the Emperor Napo- 
leon, in the previous week, and was inserted in the 
Daily Telegraph newspaper under the signature of 
" An Englishman," who said he had his Majesty's 
free consent to its publication. It stated that the 
emperor, after speaking upon some private matters, 
turned suddenly to the political situation of France 
and of Europe. He said: " One fortnight before 
the utterance of the Due de Gramont in the Corps 
Legislatif — which utterance has, as it seems to me, 
been so unjustly reflected upon by the English 
press — I had no notion that war was at hand, nor 
am I, even at this moment, by any means prepared 
for it. I trusted that, when the Due de Gramont 
had set me straight with France by speaking man- 
fully in public as to the Hohenzollern candidature, 
I should be able so to manipulate and handle the 
controversy as to make peace certain. But France 
has slipped out of my hand. I cannot rule unless 
I lead. This is the most national war that in my 
time France has undertaken, and I have no choice 
but to advance at the head of a public opinion 



200 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



which I can neither stem nor check. In addition, 
Count von Bismarck, although a very clever man, 
wants too much, and wants it too quick. After the 
victory of Prussia in 1866, I reminded him that 
but for the friendly and self-denying neutrality of 
France he could never have achieved such marvels. 
I pointed out to him that I had never moved a 
French soldier near to the Rhine frontier during 
the continuance of the German war. I quoted 
to him from his own letter in which he thanked 
me for my abstinence, and said that he had left 
neither a Prussian gun nor a Prussian soldier upon 
the Rhine, but had thrown Prussia's whole and 
undivided strength against Austria and her allies. 
I told him that, as some slight return for my 
friendly inactivity, I thought that he might sur- 
render Luxemburg, and one or two other little 
towns which gravely menace our frontier, to France. 
I added that in this way he would, by a trifling 
sacrifice, easily forgotten by Prussia in view of her 
enormous successes and acquisitions, pacify the 
French nation, whose jealousies it was so easy to 
arouse, so difficult to disarm. 

" Count von Bismarck replied to me, after some 
delay, ' Not one foot of territory, whether Prussian 
or neutral, can I resign. But, perhaps, if I were 
to make further acquisitions, I could make some 
concessions. How, for instance, if I were to take 
Holland ? What would France want as a sop for 
Holland ?' 

" ' I replied,' said the emperor, ' that if he 
attempted to take Holland, it meant war with 
France ; and there the conversation, in which 
Count von Bismarck and M. de Benedetti were 
the interlocutors, came to an end.' " 

The only notice of importance which was taken 
of this document was in a debate in the House of 
Lords, in which Lord Malmsbury said he knew 
the writer (Honourable F. Lawley) was worthy 
of all credence, and in the official North German 
Gazette, which admitted the truth of the description 
of the conversation between Count von Bismarck 
and the emperor down to the word " resign, " 
but said the remainder of the statement (that con- 
cerning Holland) was altogether fictitious. 

On the same day (25th July) as this document 
appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Times startled 
the world by publishing the " Draft of a Secret 
Project of Alliance, Offensive and Defensive, be- 
tween France and Prussia," which, on account of 
its importance, and the results to which it led, we 



give both in the original French, and also in an 
English version. The only variations from the 
text of the actual proposed treaty, and the copy 
of it published in the Times, are indicated by italics 
and brackets. 

PROPOSED TREATY BETWEEN FRANCE AND PRUSSIA. 

Sa Majeste le roi de Prusse et sa Majeste 
l'empereur des Francois jugeant utile de resserrer 
les liens d'amitie qui les unissent et de consolider 
les rapports de bon voisinage heureusement exist- 
ant entre les deux pays, convaincus d'autre part 
que pour atteindre ce resultat, propre d'ailleurs a 
assurer le maintien de la paix generale, il leur 
importe de s'entcndre sur des questions qui in- 
teressent leurs relations futures, ont resolu de 
conclure un traite a cet effet, et nomme en conse- 
quence pour leurs plenipotentiaires, &c, savoir: 

Sa Majeste, &c. ; 

Sa Majeste, &c; 

Lesquels, apres avoir echange" leurs plcinspou- 
voirs, trouves en bonne et due forme, sont convenus 
des articles suivants: — 

Article I. — Sa Majeste l'empereur des Francois 
admet et reconnait les acquisitions que la Prusse 
a faites a la suite de la derniere guerre quelle 
a soutenue contre l'Autriche et contre ses allies 
[ainsi que les arrangements pris ou h prendre pour 
la constitution dune Confederation dans T Allemagne 
du Kord, s'engageant en merne temps h prefer son 
appui a la conservatio7i de cette eeuvre], 

A rticle II. — Sa Majeste le roi de Prusse promet 
de faciliter a la France l'acquisition du Luxem- 
bourg; a cet effet la dite Majeste entrera en ne- 
gociations avec sa Majeste le roi des Pays-Bas pour 
le determiner a faire, ii l'empereur des Francais, 
la cession de ses droits souverains sur ce duche, 
moyennant telle compensation qui sera jugee suffi- 
sante ou autrement. De son cote l'empereur des 
Frangais s'engage k assumer les charges pe'euniaires 
que cette transaction peut comporter. [Pour faci- 
liter cette transaction, lempereur des Frangais, de 
son cote, s'engage a assumer accessoirement les charges 
pe'euniaires quelle pourrait comporter^] 

Article III. — Sa Majeste l'empereur des Frangais 
ne s'opposera pas a une union federale de la Con- 
federation du Nord avec les etats du midi de 
1' Allemagne, a l'exception de l'Autriche, laquelle 
union pourra etre basee sur un Parlement com- 
mun, tout en respectant, dans une juste mesure, la 
souverainete des dits etats. 



THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 



201 



Article IV. — De son cote", sa Majeste le roi de 
Prusse, au cas oil sa Majesty l'empereur des Francais 
serait amene par les circonstances a, faire entrer 
ses troupes en Belgique ou a la conquerir, accordera 
le secours [concours] de ses amies a la France, et 
il la soutiendra avec toutes ses forces de terre 
et de mer, envers et contre toute puissance qui, 
dans cette eventuality, lui declarerait la guerre. 

Article V. — Pour assurer l'entiere execution des 
dispositions qui precedent, sa Majeste le roi de 
Prusse et sa Majeste l'empereur des Francais con- 
tractent, par le present traite, une alliance offensive 
et defensive qu'ils s'engagent solennellement a 
maintenir. Leurs Majestes s'obligent, en outre et 
notamment, a l'observer dans tous les cas oil leurs 
etats respectifs, dont elles se garantissent mutuelle- 
ment l'integrite\ seraient menaces d'une aggression, 
se tenant pour liees, en pareille conjoncture, de 
prendre sans retard, et de ne decliner sous aucun 
prdtexte, les arrangements militaires qui seraient 
commandos par leur interet commun conforme'ment 
aux clauses et previsions ci-dessus enoncees. 

TRANSLATION. 

His Majesty the king of Prussia and his Majesty 
the emperor of the French, deeming it useful to 
draw closer the bonds of friendship which unite 
them, and to consolidate the relations of good 
neighbourhood happily existing between the two 
countries, and being convinced, on the other hand, 
that to attain this result, which is calculated besides 
to assure the maintenance of the general peace, it 
behoves them to come to an understanding on 
questions which concern their future relations, have 
resolved to conclude a treaty to this effect, and 
named in consequence as their plenipotentiaries, 
that is to say, 

His Majesty, &c; 

His Majesty, &c. ; 

Who, having exchanged their full powers, found 
to be in good and proper form, have agreed upon 
the following articles: — 

Article I. — His Majesty the emperor of the 
French admits and recognizes the acquisitions 
which Prussia has made as the residt of the last 
war which she sustained against Austria and her 
allies [as also the arrangements adopted or to be 
adopted for constituting a Confederation in North 
Germany, engaging, at the same time, tp render his 
support for the maintenance of that work]. 

Article II. — His Majesty the king of Prussia 



promises to facilitate the acquisition of Luxem- 
burg by France: to that effect hi